EU energy agreement: Slovakia pushed for "different starting point"

Photo: European Commission

The agreement thrashed out among EU leaders in Brussels promises "solidarity" in the event of an energy supply crisis - something Poland was looking for, and, in wording important for Czechs, Slovaks and Hungarians noted that "nuclear energy meets growing concerns about safety of supply." It also allowed some wriggle room when it came to meeting the 20 percent target for renewable energy saying "this should take account of different national starting points."

Dusan Caplovic
The EU plans a reduction of CO2 emissions by 20% until 2020, compared to the year 1990. The commission also requires an increase in the ratio of renewable sources to 20% and an increase in the amount of bio-fuels to 10%. Some EU members, lead by Germany, wanted these measures to be binding for all EU countries. On the other hand, group of states lead by France, including Slovakia, argued the measures should be only indicative. Vice-premier Dusan Caplovic defended Slovakia's stance.

"Countries that already have some experience and that have already created some resources of renewable sources can go this direction. They have been developing alternative resources for a long time. On the other hand, nothing has been done in Slovakia in the last 12 years during the reign of Mikulas Dzurinda and Vladimir Meciar. Therefore you cannot expect this government to solve it during the seven months."

According to Caplovic, it is impossible to require that all countries would have the same binding goal for renewable resources. He also believes that EU leaders will find a solution to this problem, even though it will not be a directive one. Foreign Minister Kubis claims that Slovakia is simply not prepared for the 20% binding goals in the area of renewable sources.

"We support the indicative nature of these goals. It is not like we don't to want to meet these goals, we are will do our maximum in order to get as close as possible to these goals. However, at the same time, we have to consider our situation and make a short term projection for approximately next ten years. Thus we are in favor of indicative goals and we are not alone."

Photo: European Commission
Environmental experts in Slovakia claim that a short term solution will finally lead to a worsening of the whole situation in the long-run and that it is necessary for Slovakia to come up with a long term energy strategy immediately. The government wants to focus on the short term problem though, claiming that decommissioning of the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power plant will lead to an energy gap in Slovakia. Therefore they want to invest in nuclear technology and build new nuclear power plants. On the street people's reactions vary a lot and even the surveys indicate the population is basically divided into two equally large groups. The truth is that Slovakia is one of the least developed EU countries in terms of renewable sources of energy.