Prime Minister António Costa explained this Thursday that the Member States of the European Union did not reach a common position on energy due to “a fundamental divergence” on topics about which are the clear positions of Portugal .
Speaking to journalists at dawn, after a European Council held on Wednesday in Brussels, which lasted for 14 hours and at the end of which the 27 have not adopted on the issue of energy prices, one of the main topics on the agenda, Costa indicated that nuclear and carbon taxes were the two matters that prevented a consensus.
“It was not possible to adopt any resolution regarding the energy issue, despite all having expressed great concern about the situation of energy price volatility, due to a fundamental divergence which proved insurmountable, not exactly on the issue of prices , but on two essential themes”, he revealed.
According to the prime minister, “on the one hand, a number of countries insist that nuclear energy should be considered an important energy for the climate transition, and a contiguous majority of countries that refuse to see nuclear energy as a green and safe energy, and which, therefore, should be seen as a good energy to ensure the climate transition”.
Recalling that the 27th agreement on the objective of carbon neutrality in the EU in 2050 has already been reached, and during the Portuguese presidency of the EU Council in the first half of the year, with the approval of the Climate Law, the head of government pointed out that “The divergence is no longer on the objective, it is not on the way to reach that objective”.
“There are countries that understand that they will only be able to achieve this goal using nuclear energy, and they are countries as diverse as Poland or France. There are countries that refuse the nuclear energy solution, countries like Portugal, which has always refused. There are countries that in the past adopted nuclear energy and decided to discontinue it, such as Germany or Spain. And there are countries that are currently still decommissioning as their own nuclear units”, he listed.
“But I would say, among the 27 Member States, the vast majority refuse nuclear energy as a solution to achieving this goal. There are, however, other countries that understand that this is an acceptable path. Portugal, as you know, has never adopted this path, so it would certainly not be now that it would adopt it”, he added.
António Costa explained that the second point of divergence is due to the fact that “some Member States understand that it is necessary to end the taxes on carbon emissions, which have been a very important instrument for inducing basic investments to support the climate transition”.
“And the situation in Portugal is particularly exemplary, taking into account that, in a context of great energy increase, we have a reduction in electricity in the regulated market and a large reduction in the tariff for connection to the grid by the industry, which it is only possible thanks to the fact that we started to invest early in renewable energies., and today we already have a very high incorporation in our energy ‘mix’ of renewable energies ”, he argued, that this also contributed to Portugal recording today a low rate of information.
At the press conference at the end of the summit that he chaired, the president of the European Council said that the heads of government and state of the EU did not reach an agreement on the responses to be given to the sharp crisis in the energy sector, although they consider this a “ serious matter”.
“At the last Council, we suggested that the Commission promote studies to the market – and this was done, but [nesta cimeira] we realized that divergent news on the table and it was not possible to reach an agreement regarding the activities”, let us reveal that released Charles Michel, in a press conference after a European summit, in Brussels.
At a time of energy crisis, and when electricity and gas prices are at highs and are volatile, the President of the European Council stressed, even so, that this “is a serious matter, it is an important matter, which has an impact on aggregates family members, in their purchasing power, and also in the exclusion of companies”.
For this reason, the Belgian official guaranteed that the matter will be back on the agenda at a future summit.
Soaring electricity prices – due to the rise in the gas market, higher demand and falling corrections – threatens to exacerbate energy poverty in Europe and make it harder to pay heating bills this fall and winter.
The discussion comes after, on Wednesday, the European Commission adopted a set of legislative proposals to “decarbonise the EU gas market”, promoting a transition to renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen .
With the proposal, the accessible executive opened the door to the possibility of joint purchases of gas by the countries that so wish, but always on a voluntary basis and limited to emergency cases, in which, for example, an increase in prices such as the current one does not fit. This is where the views of member states diverge.