Commission nuclear chief comments on current issues
A wide range of current EU nuclear energy issues
was discussed at a meeting on 19 March between the ENS’s
Secretary General, Peter Haug (in his capacity as Director General
of the FORATOM branch of the ENS secretariat), Christian Waeterloos,
Director for Nuclear Energy in the European Commission’s
Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN), and Dolorès
Carrillo, Head of Unit, Contracts and Studies, in the Euratom
The main topics reviewed included:
the next reorganisation of DG TREN, due on 1 May;
the 'nuclear package' of proposed legislation on safety,
decommissioning financing and radioactive waste management;
the Euratom Treaty;
the next Illustrative Nuclear Programme of the Community
the EU-Russian Energy Partnership.
Mr Waeterloos said that the real concern regarding the proposed
EU ‘nuclear package’ legislation was the non-binding
format. This has been requested by Finland, Germany, Sweden and
the UK, which, at European Council level, have the capacity to
form a minority sufficient to block the current proposals for
the ‘nuclear package’ to take the form of EU Directives.
He views the Euratom Treaty, which provides the framework for
the EU-established European Atomic Community, as an independent
entity (i.e. a primary law) that should stand as it is today.
However, the general provisions dealing with the treaty's institutional
and financial aspects are expected to be transferred to the new
EU constitutional treaty. This would unavoidably mean that the
provisions would be governed by the EU’s co-decision procedure,
which would give the European Parliament additional powers in
these matters. A final decision on this issue is due be taken
by the end of 2004 under the Dutch Presidency of the European
Council, although the approval of the EU’s Constitutional
Convention will be required.
According to Mr Waeterloos, the next Illustrative
Nuclear Programme of the Community (PINC) must be closer to the
spirit of the Euratom Treaty, i.e. it must be truly programmatic.
To reach this goal, Mr Waeterloos recommends waiting one or two
more years to obtain better visibility of the nuclear energy policies
of EU member states, such as Belgium, Finland, France, Italy,
Sweden and the UK.
On the EU-Russian Energy Dialogue, Mr Waeterloos
said that no precise schedule was planned for negotiations on
the trade in nuclear materials. He emphasised that protecting
the viability of the EU nuclear industry was a priority for the
European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and
Transport (DG TREN).