Frau Merkel, M. Hollande: say no to coal and nuclear energy; yes to an energy transition now!

Press release - February 19, 2014
Paris - This morning at 6.30am, a few hours before a Franco-German council of ministers in Paris, ten Greenpeace activists dumped five tonnes of coal from a lorry in front of the Elysée Palace, the residence of the French President. The lorry was also loaded with nuclear waste in the form of two tanks securely containing 2,000 litres of tritium-contaminated water [1]. The activists unfurled a banner reading “Energy Transition in Europe, here and now!”

 “Ms Merkel and Mr Hollande must give up coal and nuclear energy because these energies belong to the past. They can and must embark on an energy transition in Europe,” said Sébastien Blavier, Greenpeace France nuclear campaigner.

Greenpeace calls on Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande to work together to set a binding 45% renewable energy target for the EU and its member states by 2030.

The French and German governments have talked proudly of their cooperation and say they want to speed up the energy transition. But first and foremost, progress on this depends on setting ambitious European renewable energy goals. EU climate and energy targets for 2030 will be at the heart of discussions between EU governments at a summit in Brussels on 22 and 23 March.

“France and Germany talk the talk on the switch to a renewable energy future, but now they must show that they will walk the walk,” added Sébastien Blavier. “The only way to achieve the energy transition that Europe needs is to set a binding 45% renewable energy target for 2030.

The French nuclear industry and its ageing reactors are putting the whole European continent at risk. France stands at a turning point as a new energy law will be adopted this year. This law is meant to translate François Hollande’s fine words into action and reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power from 75% to 50%.

If the Energy bill does not provide for the closure of other nuclear reactors besides the Fessenheim plant, François Hollande’s promise will be broken. The pervasiveness of the nuclear industry stifles the development of renewable energy as well as the energy transition in France and in Europe,” said Sébastien Blavier.

The energy transition is high on the German political and industrial agenda, as the government has confirmed its nuclear phase out and adopted an 80% renewable energy target for 2050. Renewable energy is gradually replacing nuclear power and already accounts for 25% of the national electricity mix. But until Germany cures itself of its coal addiction, its Energiewende (energy transition) will be at risk.

Mrs Merkel and Germany are betting on the success of the ‘Energiewende’, the nuclear phase out and the quick deployment of renewable energy technologies. But Germany’s reliance on coal undermines the country’s climate ambitions,” explains Karsten Schmid, Greenpeace Germany nuclear campaigner. “Germany must adopt a coal phase-out law to finalize its transition.”


[1] For more information on the radioactive water, see here (in French).


Karsten Schmid - Greenpeace Germany nuclear campaigner: +49 40 30 61 83 88,

Sébastien Blavier - Greenpeace France nuclear campaigner, +33 6 88 88 18 30, 

For breaking news and comment on EU affairs:

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.