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Council maintains nuclear as eligible for ‘green’ finance
25 September 2019
By Jorge Valero
EURACTIV.com—EU ministers have decided not to exclude nuclear projects from a sustainable finance classification scheme, despite opposition from Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and the European Parliament.
The EU’s 28 member states adopted on Wednesday their joint position on the new rules to clarify what represents sustainable finance.
The transition towards a ‘greener’ economy will require billions of euros. To achieve the EU’s 2030 climate targets, the European Commission has estimated that around €180 billion a year of additional investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy will be needed.
Private funding will play a key role in this effort. However, not all investments marketed as sustainable financing meet the necessary environmental credentials.
In May last year the Commission proposed setting up an EU classification system, or taxonomy, that will help to identify what economic activities are considered as environmentally sustainable.
However, a majority of member states did not want to exclude nuclear energy from the taxonomy, as Germany, Austria and Luxembourg demanded.
A Commission spokeswoman told EURACTIV that nuclear energy “should be evaluated on a scientific basis”, and more analysis was needed to assess the potential harm of nuclear waste.
In this regard, the technical expert group on sustainable finance recognised last June that nuclear energy “makes a substantial contribution to mitigation objectives but that more evidence and analysis were needed,” the spokeswoman added.
The Council’s position also said that the taxonomy should be established by the end of 2021, in order to be fully implemented by the end of 2022.
The Parliament wanted to use the taxonomy as early as possible to ensure that Europe becomes a lead market in ‘green bonds’. The Commission also supported a faster timeline.
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