Prague and Bratislava to host EU nuclear energy debates

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The EU Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF) is to meet twice annually and will be organised jointly by the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is intended that the forum should encourage renewed discussion and debate on the future of nuclear energy in Europe.

The European Commission announced the launch of ENEF on 15 June. The first meeting is likely to take place in Bratislava either at the end of September or beginning of October 2007 (with a more specific time to be announced by Slovakia). This was agreed in previous weeks by Topolanek and Fico, who then informed the European Commission.  

On 9 March 2007, the European Council approved the 10 January 2007 Commission proposal to create a discussion forum on nuclear energy “that would allow all the relevant stakeholders to hold an open and transparent debate on nuclear energy”. This will be the first time that an energy forum is co-hosted by two countries, and it will also be the first energy forum to be hosted in new member states. 

The aim of the forum is to relaunch discussions on nuclear energy in Europe, an issue that Czechs and Slovaks, who are big advocates of nuclear energy, are keen to promote. Under the patronage of the European Commission, representatives from EU institutions, member states, industry companies, NGOs and academia will discuss how nuclear energy can contribute to European energy policies, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and enhance the security of energy supply and competitiveness. 

The forum will also seek to define the needs, problems and risks of nuclear power and to find ways in which to tackle them. Similar forums are organised regularly worldwide – eg the Sustainable Energy Forum in Amsterdam (renewable resources) and the European Gas Regulatory Forum in Madrid. 

The Czech Republic and Slovakia have indicated that the forum could provide powerful arguments in the ongoing discussions on the composition of their energy mix. Nuclear energy presently accounts for 31% and 57% of electricity supply in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, respectively. 

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed the agreement reached by the Czech and Slovak governments:"The EU Nuclear Energy Forum will be fundamental to structure an open debate without any taboo on this source of energy. With their generous offer, the Czech and Slovak governments have taken an important step forward to put on the table the challenges and the opportunities of nuclear energy in full transparency." 

Vladivoj Reznik, director of the European Agenda department in CEZ Group, the Czech energy producer, said that his firm supported the EU Nuclear Energy Forum as "a platform for objective and fact-based discussion on nuclear energy exploitation".


Foratom Director-General Santiago San Antonio
said: "We applaud the Commission's initiative to set up ENEF. This announcement brings its creation a step closer. We also congratulate Commissioner Piebalgs' efforts in driving through the process, as well as those of the Czech and Slovak authorities in reaching this historic agreement. Our industry will continue to lend its full support to the ENEF initiative and looks forward to playing a lead role in it achieving its objectives."

The Czech Republic and Slovakia agreed to establish the EU Nuclear Energy Forum, placing their proposal in the conclusions of the March 2007 European Council. However, until last week, it was not clear which of the countries would host the meeting. Finally, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico agreed a deal to organise regular biannual meetings to be alternately hosted in Prague and Bratislava.

  • European Council expected shortly to accept joint Czech and Slovak proposal to create EU Nuclear Energy Forum. 
  • End of Sept/beginning of Oct. 2007: Bratislava due to host the first forum.
  • EU Nuclear Energy Forum to alternate biannually between Prague and Bratislava.

EURACTIV.cz. contributed to this article.

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