France-Germany: reconcilable priorities?

21.01.2022

На протяжении десятилетий франко-германский союз был жизненно важной и неоспоримой парадигмой европейской интеграционной политики. Это негласное правило также будет влиять на реализацию европейского «зеленого курса». Учитывая разную структуру экологической и энергетической политики во Франции и Германии, вряд ли это будет легкой задачей, считают в Фонде Фридриха Науманна. Какую роль в этом вопросе играет ядерная энергетика, читайте в материале

Writing recently in Der Spiegel, the Secretary of State for European affairs, Clément Beaune, underlined the indispensable nature of the “Franco-German alliance”. For decades it has been a vital and undeniable paradigm of European integration policy: without an understanding between Paris-Berlin there is no hope! The adoption of the NextGenerationEU recovery plan in July 2020 demonstrated this vividly. This unspoken rule will affect the implementation of the European Green Deal. Given the differing structure of environmental and energy policies in France and Germany, this implementation is unlikely to be an easy task.

Divergent frameworks

The priority given to the modernisation of the French nuclear power industry, reaffirmed by the French government at the start of October as part of the “France 2030” investment plan and supported by the country’s main political parties, contrasts with the forthcoming phase-out of nuclear power in Germany. The “Mehr Fortschritt wagen” government agreement also confirms how this goal is being upheld: “We remain committed to phasing out nuclear power.” The share of electricity generated by this sector around the world may be just 10%, but in France it amounts to 70%. By contrast, the phasing out of coal, scheduled for 2021, a campaign promise made by Emmanuel Macron in 2017, will be postponed until after 2022. In this respect, the coalition agreement reached by our German neighbours envisages that coal power plants will be closed down by 2030, ahead of the previous government’s deadline of 2038.

Despite a sharp increase in the share of renewable energy in the French energy mix in recent decades, dependence on nuclear power in France remains very high. The contrast between the two countries is just as stark when you look at the effort made by Germany to expand renewable energy to more than 50% since the decision taken in 2011 to phase out nuclear energy, which accounts for no more than 12.5% of national electricity production, on a par with wind power. It is important to stress that the new German government is aiming to increase the share of renewable energy to 80% by 2030, while the French goals remain much more modest in comparison. While the European goal is 55% by 2030, the Climate and Resilience Law, passed and published in summer 2021, is unlikely to allow France, which was still peaking at around 20% in 2020, to achieve the objectives set.

While on both sides of the Rhine there is a shared realisation that a redoubling of efforts is needed to allow the ambitious international objectives to be achieved, adopting common measures is not easy when the paradigms on which decision-making depends or the objectives to be achieved diverge so fundamentally.

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