German climate policy gives headache to Eastern neighbour

Fiala stressed the importance of nuclear energy during his New Year Eve speech, giving a clear signal to its anti-nuclear neighbours. [Shutterstock / Martin Lisner]

The closure of three of six remaining German nuclear power plants last week is causing headaches in the Czech Republic, with Germany’s nuclear phase-out being dubbed a ‘radical step’ by Prague, particularly in the context of current energy price hikes.

“Germany bet on a radical form of the European Green Deal,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS, ECR) said in an interview for CNN Prima News.

Fiala stressed the importance of nuclear energy during his New Year Eve speech, giving a clear signal to its anti-nuclear neighbours.

“Our government will have to work patiently and hard, look for allies in Europe, and convince partners. Finally, it also has to move forward with the construction of nuclear units and to encourage investment in other reasonable renewable sources,” Fiala said during a New Year Eve speech.

“That is the way out of the energy crisis. The alternative is underdevelopment and poverty. And nobody wants that,” he added.

The Czech Republic is undergoing a green transformation. With 40% of electricity produced by coal, it has to find new energy sources. The government is convinced that geographic conditions are not suitable for the massive development of solar or wind energy, thus it bets on nuclear plants.

While France is the main pro-nuclear ally of the country, the Czech Republic is heavily dependent on the German economy.

As Czech Energy, Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Síkela pointed out, a dialogue with Germany might be crucial for further developments in the European energy field.

“We have to talk with Germans about taking into account the economic reality and specific problems of their neighbours,” Síkela said in an interview for Seznam Zprávy.

Regarding energy, Fiala welcomed the European Commission’s leaked draft of the EU’s sustainable taxonomy labelling the investments in nuclear power as green.

However, the new legislation has to be adequately analysed by Czech authorities, as it sets specific criteria for obtaining the green label.

Austrian Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler has already threatened to take legal action against the EU if it decides to include nuclear energy into the green taxonomy.

(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)

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