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EU executive admits ‘mistake’ over state aid for German coal plants: report

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 07.09.2018 09:00
The European Commission has admitted making a mistake in a state aid decision for German coal plants amid Polish complaints of “double standards” in the treatment of member states, according to a report.
The European Commission's headquarters at the Berlaymont building, Brussels.   Photo: wikimedia commons/Sebastien Bertrand.The European Commission's headquarters at the Berlaymont building, Brussels. Photo: wikimedia commons/Sebastien Bertrand.

The executive arm of the European Union said on Tuesday that it would not make an exception for Germany in decisions to approve state support for emergency power plants, the euractiv.com website has reported.

It cited the European Commission as saying EU decisions to approve state support for emergency power plants in Germany as well as France, Italy, Greece and Poland will all have to be revisited in light of an ongoing reform of European electricity market rules.

The Commission in February said in a state aid ruling that support for emergency power generation in Germany, chiefly coal-fired plants, would remain “uninfluenced by the future rules on the design of the electricity market,” according to euractiv.com.

Such rules are currently being negotiated at the EU level, the website said.

However, this sentence was buried in a footnote and remained unnoticed until the full text of the decision was published following the EU executive’s February announcement, euractiv.com reported.

The website said that this raised accusations of double standards by countries including Poland, which were not offered equivalent safeguards.

In similar rulings for France, Belgium, Italy, Greece and Poland, the Commission stipulated clearly that state aid for back-up power generation “will need to be interpreted in the light of … legislation that has not been adopted yet at the time of this decision,” according to euractiv.com.

The website cited the Commission as saying that the review of state aid decisions will in particular focus on future carbon dioxide emission limits aimed at phasing out support for coal-fired power plants, which are blamed for global warming.

The announcement comes as a relief for Poland, which has complained of “double standards” in the ongoing reform of capacity markets for electricity because it appeared to give preferential treatment to German coal plants, euractiv.com said.

It quoted Christof Schoser, deputy head of unit at the European Commission's Directorate General for Competition in charge of state aid controls, as saying: “On the German decision, indeed, it’s a mistake which is in the process of being corrected.”

A Polish MEP in August implied that Brussels uses double standards in its treatment of EU member states over how they manage their forests, according to the wpolityce.pl website.


Source: euractiv.com

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