France pleads EU to postpone green finance rules as Paris set to ‘lose a lot of funding’

EU: Ursula von der Leyen's Green Deal slammed by Donato

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Last week, the European Commission’s new proposal was shared with EU countries and said it would class gas-fuelled plants which generate power plus heating or cooling as green investment if strict conditions on emissions are met.

At the end of April, the Commission will unveil a text setting up a “taxonomy” but Paris has urged the EU to postpone introducing the proposal, which is set to come into force next year.

The Commission’s proposal was attacked by Génération Frexit – a campaign group calling for France to leave the European Union.

They tweeted: “Nuclear power excluded from green financing?

“The umpteenth absurdity of the EU, which could work against what constitutes France’s main asset in the necessary ecological transition!”

Francois Asselineau, president of the Republican People’s Union and campaigner for Frexit, added: “The European Commission wants to exclude nuclear from its clean energy ‘taxonomy’.

“As always, France is ‘relatively isolated’ among the 27 and risks losing a lot of ‘green funding’.”

A source from the Ministry of Economy indicated that, given this divergence of views, France has asked the European Commission to postpone the adoption of this text, which is supposed to come into force in 2022.

The source told French newspaper Les Echos: “It makes more sense to deal with nuclear power in a single text to respect the principle of technology neutrality of the taxonomy.

“These exceptions on a purely geographical basis are not relevant, and would go in the wrong direction vis-à-vis our climate ambition.”

The source went on to say the framework for the text could inspire EU rules on state aid or add constraints on public debt.

They added: “The text conditions the ability to obtain green financing.

“The framework it creates for sustainable finance could in the future also inspire European rules on state aid or constraints on public debt.”

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The EU’s updated proposal is part of its Sustainable Finance Taxonomy.

Other countries, such as Bulgaria and Poland, have urged the Commission to label gas power as green.

The likes of Denmark and Spain have warned Brussels not to weaken its plan to deny gas a green label.

The EU Green Deal aims to end all emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 and plans to make the EU’s economy sustainable.

Back in 2019, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We are determined to tackle climate change and turn it into an opportunity for the European Union.

“We are aware that not every region has the same starting point.

“We are aware of the fact that for some regions and sectors it will be more difficult to adapt.”

Ms von der Leyen vowed to handle the issue of climate change on an international level.

She said: “If we want to convince others like India or China to join, we have to be a role model.

“We have to be united and bold, step forward and prove that change is possible, and that it is of benefit for the people and for the economy.”

In the UK, Boris Johnson’s Government has vowed to become carbon-free by 2050.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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