EU investment programme: € 100 billion for nuclear power?

11.12.2014
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wants to boost the European economy with an investment programme. (Photo: dpa)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wants to boost the European economy with an investment programme. (Photo: dpa)

According to a report by the German broadcasting service ARD, nuclear power plants are included on the preliminary project list of the investment programme for the European economy, which has been proposed by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

The list of projects proposed for funding includes nuclear power plants. As the news programme 'Tagesschau' reported, nine countries are applying for a total of € 100 billion investment subsidies for nuclear power plants. The projects include refurbishments as well as new installations. Romania for example wants to modernise a nuclear power plant, the UK has three reactors on the project list and Poland would like to use the funding to enter the nuclear energy market.

As a result of the fact that member states are expected to participate in the programme, the German government could end up phasing out nuclear energy in its own country and funding nuclear power plants in others.

Restructuring for the big investment package

The funding programme will have a total volume of € 315 billion. However, this amount is more of a calculated value than actual available money. Using a € 21 billion fund created by the European Investment Bank (EIB), bank loans of up to € 60 billion will be hedged, which in turn are expected to trigger total investments of € 315 billion in the European economy over the next few years. In reality, only € 5 billion of the underlying funds will be provided by the EIB. The EU is expected to re-purpose existing programmes so it can provide € 8 billion out of its own budget. No source was specified for the missing € 8 billion out of the total of € 21 billion.

Germany has submitted 58 proposals (worth € 89 billion), but many of them may not meet the criteria for the investments. As EU Financial Commissioner Pierre Moscovici put it: "This is a plan for new investments that will create additional growth." It is not about providing more funds for existing projects.

Investments as a source of hope for the job market

Even if € 315 billion sounds like a huge amount of money, the projects proposed on the hundred-page list to date encompass a total funding volume of over € 1 trillion. This is one of the reasons why the list of projects that will actually receive funding, and whether that list will still include nuclear power plants, will be determined in mid-2015 at the earliest.

Despite the fact that the sources of money are still uncertain, Juncker's plan has met with some approval. New investments could create millions of new jobs. The Commission is hoping for 1.3 million. This could give new impetus to countries that have suffered severely from the financial crisis.

The decision on whether the programme will be launched will be made during the Summit of Heads of State and Government on 18 and 19 December.

Tanja Peschel

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