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EU Must Not Block Hinkley Point C

Monday, December 16, 2013

An Unexpected EU Blocking Of Hinkley Point C Would Be A Disaster For Jobs And For Energy Supply In The UK Says GMB

This EU investigation is a normal process within state aid and competition procedures and that an investigation is underway is no basis for scaremongering reports says GMB. 

GMB, the union for energy and construction workers, has learned that on Wednesday 18th December the EU College of Commissioners will be notified that the Competition Commissioner has some doubts about the Hinkley Point C agreement and is likely agree the launch of a formal investigation into the proposals. The meeting is the routine weekly meeting in Brussels of all EU Commissioners and President.

This investigation follows the announcement in October 2013 that EDF Group and the UK Government had reached in principle an agreement on the key commercial terms for an investment contract for the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Hinkley Point C has the potential to create 25,000 jobs in the UK during its construction, including over 400 apprentices When operational it will employ 900 workers and will be able to supply up to 7% of the UK’s electricity needs with no carbon emissions.

Kathleen Walker Shaw GMB European Officer, said "GMB understands that a 90 page internal document will be presented at the EU meeting on Wednesday looking at all the angles of the deal.  Such forensic preparation of the case in advance, identifying all the issues, and looking at all options is common, as so many disputed competition cases end up in court.

Once the investigation is formally launched, the EU Commission will launch a consultation period of 4 weeks for interested 3rd parties to put forward their views. The date of the formal launch will be published in the Official Journal of the EU – this is likely to be in January 2014.

Joaquin Almunia the Commissioner for Competition has indicated he would wish to see the investigation concluded before the end of the current EU Commission term in October 2014. There is optimism it will be completed by summer 2014."

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy, said "This EU investigation is a routine and normal process within state aid and competition procedures. That an investigation is underway is no basis for scaremongering reports.

The country is gripped by an energy crisis and government policy is in absolute disarray. Our slavish reliance on market solutions in energy has led us into a cul de sac.  GMB wants  long term  and sustainable solutions to this mess, and that is why we are actively involved at UK and European level to ensure much needed progress is made – and quickly.

We are already several years behind schedule on new nuclear. Were the EU to block Hinkley Point C for some unexpected reason this would be a disaster for jobs and the associated UK nuclear industries. It cannot be overstated what a blow this would be to our energy sector and the related jobs."

End

Contact: Kathleen Walker Shaw GMB 07841 181 549 or Gary Smith 07710 618909 or Phil Whitehurst 07968 338810 or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880
 

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