by Frédéric Simon, December 5, 2019 in EurActiv
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has threatened to veto Europe’s goal of becoming the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050, adding his voice to a growing chorus of discontent as EU leaders prepare for heated climate discussions at a summit in Brussels next week.
In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Babiš said, however, he could still change his mind in exchange for higher financial support from the EU and better investment conditions for nuclear energy.
Private investors are reluctant to pour money into new nuclear power plants, which face escalating costs and growing competition from cheap renewables. New plants are dependent on state support, which require prior approval by the European Commission’s powerful competition department.
“Nuclear plants construction may require changes in the state aid rules,” Babiš wrote in the letter, according to Czech daily Hospodářské noviny, a media partner of EURACTIV.cz.
Funding for new nuclear plants is also an issue for Poland, one of the last remaining EU countries opposed to the bloc’s proposed climate neutrality objective for 2050. At the last EU summit in October, Warsaw called for “significantly larger” amounts of funding under the EU’s next long-term budget before signing up to the 2050 goal.