New Scientist article on EURATOM and the future EU Constitution
In the New Scientist magazine article, Rob Edwards interprets the decision to maintain the Euratom Treaty as emblematic of the confusion that is at the heart of EU energy policy. For while the non-nuclear half of the ten new Member States will be legally obliged to "develop a powerful nuclear industry", as postulated in the EURATOM Treaty, the remaining half is under pressure from the EU to shut down their outdated nuclear power plants.
Next to the EU enlargement, one influential process shaping the European agenda for energy policy has been the negotiation of a Constitution for the European Union. The European Convention, headed by Valerie Giscard d'Estaing, presented a draft Constitutional Treaty to the Thessaloniki European Council that took place in June 2003. In this draft, the European Convention proposed wide-ranging changes for the future of European Energy policy, and discussed especially the question of how to deal with the EURATOM treaty.
Whereas energy policy in the European Union used to fall under the responsibility of Member States in the past, the European Convention for the first time facilitated a full European energy policy. For the EURATOM Treaty, since agreement could be reached neither to abandon it nor to include it in the Constitution, it was left to linger as the only standalone treaty, while all other EU treaties would be subsumed under the Constitution once it is decided.
These and other issues are discussed in an Ecologic Brief on Energy Policy in the Constitutional Treaty [pdf, 24 KB, English] by Benjamin Görlach and Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf. The question of EURATOM is also touched upon in an Ecologic Brief on the European Constitution [pdf, 24 kb, English] by Peter Beyer. Both Briefs are part of the project EcoFuturum "Europe's Democratic Challenge: Actively Shaping European Environmental Policy". It is part of a series of contributions to the European constitutional debates, and Ecologic thus continues its tradition of work on "Greening the Treaties".