Environmental policies

The Franco-German locomotive starts again from hydrogen and geothermal

Hydrogen also from nuclear and geothermal, the new energy policy axis between Paris and Berlin

Harmonise the energy policy of Europe’s two heavyweights. Closing the long chapter of friction between Paris and Berlin. With an eye to Brussels, to already dictate part of the agenda of the next EU Commission that will take office after the elections of 6-9 June. This is the aim of a declaration to be adopted next month by the France-Germany interparliamentary assembly.

The assembly cannot pass laws but it is the engine of coordination between the two countries in many areas. Coordination on energy policy has been lacking for some time. “In the last two years there has been too much antagonism between France and Germany, but Franco-German energy is needed to advance Europe,” comments German MP Andreas Jung.

There are many dossiers on which Paris and Berlin found themselves on the opposite side of the barricade. You will remember the very long tug-of-war on EU green taxonomy. The list of investments that Brussels considers sustainable – and therefore facilitates – has divided the two countries with France determined to include nuclear power and Germany determined to carve out a role for gas.

New Paris-Berlin energy policy axis

One of the knots of the green taxonomy – then dissolved with a fairly fragile compromise – concerned precisely hydrogen, an issue at the heart of the declaration of the interparliamentary assembly. The call is for a review of the European Hydrogen Strategy, which dates back to 2020, to be launched as early as 2025. In which, alongside green hydrogen, that is obtained from renewable sources, the H2 obtained from nuclear energy is fully legitimized thanks to the opening to “low emission variants”. Renewable hydrogen remains the “priority” even in the early stages of the development of a European energy carrier economy, but any barrier to the use of nuclear power falls.

The other energy policy priority indicated in the declaration concerns geothermal energy. The Franco-German Members of Parliament are calling for a European strategy on this issue to be adopted, again in 2025. That should be based on a common position between Paris and Berlin. The idea is to exploit the geothermal potential of the Upper Rhine, on the border between the two countries. By developing standards of technology, permits and security that should serve as guidelines for the European approach.

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