Nuclear lobbying offensive fails... by a hair's breadth

Update on the European Parliament plenary vote on 14 December

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), December 2006

On 14 December the plenary of the European Parliament (EP) voted on the Report on a European strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy, also known as the Morgan Report. Nuclear industry lobbyists in Brussels had worked hard to influence the final wording of the report to provide new opportunities for exonasion of nuclear power in Europe (see: Nuclear Power Grab, Corporate Europe Observatory, December 2006).

But in the end, FORATOM and other nuclear lobby groups didn't get what they had hoped for. Despite months of intensive lobbying, they failed to convince a majority of the Parliament to vote for dropping binding targets for renewable energy.

However, they were not far from achieving their objectives. Amendment 9 (proposing a target for ‘CO2 neutral energy technologies to supply 60 % of EU electricity demand by 2020’) was rejected by a narrow majority of only four votes (out of the total 732 MEPs). The proposal to remove binding targets for the share of renewable energy by 2020 was rejected by 24 votes. Amendment 4, which claimed that ‘current scientific developments reliably ensure the safety of nuclear power plants’, was rejected by 23 votes.

On 10 January 2007, the European Commission will present its long-awaited Strategy Review on Energy. It remains to be seen whether the opinion of the European Parliament will be taken seriously into account. The Spring Summit of EU government leaders in March will make final decisions on the basis of the Strategy Review.