State aid for energy: Climate action is more important than the single market

State aid for energy: Climate action is more important than the single market

Policy brief
Stephen Tindale
23 February 2015

The Commission has handled the issue of state aid for nuclear energy well, but should use its powers to end coal subsidies.

View press release.

  • The objectives of deepening the single energy market, respecting member-state competence over the energy mix and protecting the climate can conflict. Where they do, European institutions should give priority to decarbonisation.
  • Member-states and EU institutions should concentrate on implementing the Commission’s new state aid guidelines for energy and the environment, rather than trying to improve them further. Regulatory stability would facilitate the investment needed to decarbonise Europe’s energy system.
  • The Commission should stop trying to force member-states to subsidise renewable energy projects outside their borders, and member-states should accept the Commission’s decision to approve the UK’s state aid application for nuclear power.