Von der Leyen says countries pick their mix of energy sources themselves

Ljubljana – The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, reiterated in an interview with the newspaper Delo that EU countries decide on which energy sources they will use themselves as she responded to a question regarding the expansion of the lifespan of the Krško nuclear power station by 2043 and plans for a second unit.

The decision on running or closing down nuclear power stations is also in the jurisdiction of EU member states, von der Leyen said.

The Commission’s priority is to make sure that EU countries which decide to use nuclear energy adhere to the highest safety standards, she told Delo.

Nuclear safety standards are set in the legal framework of the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) and the revised directive on nuclear safety regulating the entire life cycle of a nuclear facility, von der Leyen noted.

She also presented the Fit for 55 climate package, noting that she had told Prime Minister Janez Janša during her visit to Ljubljana at the start of Slovenia’s EU presidency that his support and the support of the presidency would be crucial.

“It is very important that the negotiations at the Council of the EU start on a positive note and I am counting on Slovenia here,” he said, adding that the Slovenian presidency would coordinate the Council’s work related to EU Green Deal proposals and make sure that balanced solutions were adopted.

Commenting on Slovenia’s lagging behind in terms of investment in renewables and obstacles to such projects, including from environmental activists, the Commission head said that the use of clean energy was already high.

Last year, more energy was produced from renewables in Europe than from all fossil fuels combined, she noted, adding that energy production from renewables was becoming increasingly efficient.

Given the measures countries are implementing now, the EU will achieve the goal of having almost 34% of energy from renewables by 2030. “With the funds that are available as part of the European instrument GenerationEU and the EU budget, we can achieve even more,” she stressed, calling for a more efficient energy use.