Nuclear power International Conference on "Energy Intelligence for Europe" Provides Strong Evidence for the Need of a Euratom Treaty Reform
MPs from various countries plan parliamentary initiative on Euratom Reform
Friday 23 September 2005, an international conference featuring top government, parliament, industry, university and NGO representatives concluded with Members of Parliament from France, Denmark and the European Parliament agreeing to launch an initiative to reform the almost five decades old Treaty founding the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).
Six Danish, Swedish and European environmental NGOs convened an international energy Conference at the Danish Parliament Building Christiansborg (1). The conference entitled "Energy Intelligence for Europe. The Euratom Treaty and Future Energy Options: Conditions for a Level Playing Field in the Energy Sector", had two main objectives:
- To assist in promoting the initiative of an intergovernmental conference on the Euratom Treaty and
- To provide the Danish Government with information and analysis to adopt a proactive policy on the future of the Euratom Treaty.
The over one hundred participants included representatives of the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Danish Board of Technology, the Danish Research Agency, the Danish Energy Agency, Risø National Laboratory, the Technical University of Denmark, the Association of Danish Energy Companies, the Danish Wind Turbine Owners' Association, the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review and the Nuclear Waste Secretariat of the Swedish Environment Movement.
Participants were warmly welcomed by Soren Voehtz representing the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs who applauded the conference initiative and stressed that he "did not have any preconceived view on the Euratom Treaty". The first keynote speaker of the day, Peter Brazel from The Irish Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, discussed Euratom Treaty reform and prospects for a Euratom revision conference.
One of the highlights of the day was the lively one-hour debate on the future of the Euratom Treaty between Nina Commeau-Yannoussis, Head of Unit of Energy Policy and Security of Supply from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, and Andreas Molin, representing the Austrian Environment Ministry, chaired by Dominique Voynet, French Senate member and former Minister of the Environment, who gave an eloquent introduction into the topic and challenged the debaters with the question "is not indispensable to finally adapt transparency and democracy in a sector that has too often escaped public scrutiny and control?"
The afternoon's programme continued on the same high international level. Especially significant was the second keynote speech by Christian Kjaer, Policy Director for the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), which represents manufacturers covering 98% of the world wind power market. According to him and EWEA, effective competition in the European power markets is a myth. Unless the current distortions in the emerging Internal Electricity Market are overcome - including the one represented by the Euratom Treaty - there will be no effective internal renewable electricity market for renewables to compete in.
Dr. Lutz Mez from the Environmental Policy Research Centre in Berlin chaired together with Danish MP Anne Grete Holmsgaard. Dr. Mez closed the conference on behalf of Dominique Voynet:
"It is encouraging to see that parliamentarians from several EU countries already agreed to launch an initiative to review the outdated Euratom Treaty within the framework of an Intergovernmental Conference and at the same time to co-operate with the European Parliament on the issue ".
Kim Ejlertsen, office manager in NOAH - Friends of the Earth Denmark, who was one of the organisers of the conference, states:
"The organisers will now document the conference outcome and try to build on the momentum that the conference has created. In January 2004, the Danish Parliament discussed a possible revision of the safety provisions of the Euratom Treaty and the abolishment of the provisions, which promote nuclear power. In principle, all the political parties agreed that Euratom reform was necessary, but most of them thought that the timing was wrong. With the European Constitution at a standstill this situation no longer applies. Hopefully, this conference can now reinstate the Euratom issue on the political agenda and motivate the Danish politicians to opt for an intergovernmental Euratom revision conference".
For further information, please contact:
Kim Ejlertsen or Niels Henrik Hooge
For further information on the Conference, please see the Conference website: www.energyintelligenceforeurope.dk
(1) The conference conveners were NOAH - Friends of the Earth Denmark, The Danish Ecological Council, The Danish Organisation for Sustainable Energy, The Society for Green Technology, The Swedish Anti Nuclear Movement and Friends of the Earth Europe. It was sponsored by the Danish Board for EU-Enlightenment, the First of May Foundation and Plum's Ecology Foundation.