Climate Change

Timmermans: There is place for gas, nuclear energy in EU energy mix

Timmermans place for gas nuclear energy EU mix

Photo: Oscar Siagian / EC - Audiovisual Service

Published

October 18, 2021

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Published:

October 18, 2021

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European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans said there is no reason to believe Russia is manipulating the gas market and asserted that the fossil fuel has a future in the energy mix. The EU has nothing against nuclear energy, he added, but also warned it is expensive.

As a severe energy crisis took hold across the world, the European Union apparently changed its stance on fossil fuels and edged closer to endorsing nuclear energy as an acceptable source. European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans told bTV there is a place for natural gas in the energy mix and stressed Russia is fulfilling its commitments so that there is no reason to believe the Kremlin is manipulating the market segment.

The European Union’s top official, responsible for the European Green Deal and climate action, was warning until recently that there is no future for fossil fuels.

Coal phaseout is certain, EU would back Bulgarian nuclear power project

In an interview during his visit to Bulgaria, he said the European Commission has nothing against nuclear energy but that it is more expensive. Timmermans went further to claim the administration in Brussels would back the Balkan country if it decides to build nuclear power plant Belene.

People in 30 coal regions in Europe won’t be abandoned, Timmermans promised

“There is no future for coal. More and more countries are adhering to this policy worldwide. However, we need to ensure a better future for people living in mining areas. I am a grandson of two miners,” he reiterated and said the European Commission would analyze Bulgaria’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan and the country’s scenarios for a coal phaseout.

“The longer we wait, it will be more expensive for us,” Timmermans underscored and added flexibility is necessary. He said it is “extremely good news” that the authorities acknowledged it is the right path.

No one to be abandoned, forgotten

There are 30 coal regions in Europe, where they know their long-term future cannot be linked to coal and that the people there need to be trained and retrained, he asserted. “We will ensure that the transition in the coal-producing regions takes place in a fair way, and I promise you I am committed that no one will be abandoned and forgotten,” Timmermans said.

During his stay, the European Commission’s vice-president spoke in Sofia to trade unionists, who protested against a hasty coal exit and warned of nation-wide blackouts and a possible loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

In other news, Energy Community Secretariat Director Janez Kopač said it is irrelevant if gas is from Russia or elsewhere but that it must be traded in a free market. Russia built its Balkan Stream pipeline via Turkey to deliver the fuel to Bulgaria and Serbia and further on to Europe.

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