Smoke signals from Brussels

Brussels watchers are still figuring out how the new European Commission will bed down during 2015. For a start, precisely how the division of responsibilities between the Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, billed as being in charge of Energy Union, and the Energy Commissioner Miguel Cañete, whose portfolio explicitly includes both Energy and Climate Action, will work in practice is not yet completely clear.

Meanwhile Austria’s persistent objections to the deal struck by the British Government with EDF over Hinkley Point appear unlikely to succeed. The Commission examined the terms of this deal carefully before deciding last year that it didn’t breach state aid regulations.

Early smoke signals from Mr Cañete’s office suggest that he is supportive of EU countries who want nuclear power as part of their energy mix. This is encouraging for all of us who are working to promote a revival of nuclear power in Europe.

However to secure the backing of the Commission for new nuclear power stations in future the contractual arrangements between Governments and developers will almost certainly have to be completely transparent.