EU Commissioner McGuinness defends gas and nuclear in green investment guidelines – POLITICO

EU Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness defended the inclusion of nuclear and gas in the executive’s proposal for sustainable investment guidelines in an interview with Brussels Playbook published on Monday.

The proposition “is not to say you have to invest in energy X or Y,” McGuinness said. “It’s about classifying under what conditions we think nuclear and gas can be suitable with conditions in the transition category of the taxonomy…It’s up to the investment community and those involved in these technologies, to decide whether they use these standards.

His comments came as the College of Commissioners is set to approve the controversial ‘taxonomy’ proposal this week, with an announcement expected on Wednesday. The Commission says the move to include nuclear and gas is key to ensuring Europe can transition to a renewables-driven energy landscape and meet its climate goals.

McGuinness said that although the Commission is “tweaking” the delegated act ahead of its adoption on Wednesday, it is unlikely to change significantly from the draft proposal, which the Commission controversially published on December 31, 2021. .

“We will not rewrite the text. We are looking at the detail of the submissions that have been made to us to see if we can adapt, but I would think more of adjustments rather than a rewrite,” said McGuinness.

The Commission’s historical classification system is one of the key files to be adopted by the EU this year. But it has faced notable pushback from some EU member countries and environmental groups – a controversy McGuinness said she expected.

“I fully accept that gas is a fossil fuel – we are not blind to that – but it is much better than the continued use of dirty coal. Likewise, nuclear is carbon free,” the commissioner said. Irish, saying the proposal addresses the issue of toxic waste disposal and requires nuclear sources to cause “no significant harm” to the environment.

The new classification system will most likely be adopted as introduced by delegated act, and due to the “reverse enhanced qualified majority” rule, at least 20 countries representing 65% of the EU population are expected to s oppose it for it to be blocked. The bloc’s main members – Germany and France – support the deal, with France favoring the inclusion of nuclear and Germany demanding the inclusion of gas.

But McGuinness rejected accusations that the Commission is pandering to the demands of the two EU heavyweights.

“That wouldn’t be accurate – there’s certainly a very heated debate going on, which should be, because it’s so important. It is about energy security… it is important for all Member States. All have been heard, have been listened to.

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