Reaction to Oettinger comment on nuclear state aid reported in Süddeutsche Zeitung

Press release - September 19, 2013
Brussels – German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has reported statements by European energy commissioner Günther Oettinger suggesting to EU nuclear regulators earlier this year that state aid rules should be changed to allow public financing of new nuclear power stations [1].

The newspaper says it obtained a tape recording of Commissioner Oettinger’s statements at the meeting in March 2013. Speaking in German, he is reported as saying that new nuclear power plants are not economically profitable and that to make them fundable “it will be necessary to carefully bypass or pragmatically adapt [European] state aid rules” [2].

Reacting to the comments, Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser Frederic Thoma said: “The nuclear industry has gone cap in hand to the EU and Commissioner Oettinger is on record telling them that he has no problem reaching into the pockets of European taxpayers to bail it out. Allowing public subsidies for nuclear power would distort the energy market in favour of a dangerous technology that is still a bad investment 60 years after it was created. Other European Commissioners should resist this lunacy when they decide their position on EU state aid for nuclear energy over the next few weeks.”

European Commissioners are expected to discuss new rules for state aid on 8 October 2013.



[1] Greenpeace, Exclusive: Leaked nuclear state aid proposals spark controversy, 19 July 2013,

Greenpeace, European Commission attempts to open door for subsidies to nuclear energy, 19 July 2013,

Greenpeace, Debunking the Commission's claims on nuclear state aid, 26 July 2013,  

[2] Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19 September 2013, p. 8.



Frederic Thoma – Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser: +32 (0)486 401895,

Mark Breddy – Head of communications, Greenpeace EU: +32 (0)496 156229,


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