The New-Flemish Alliance, N-VA, has sided with the Federation of Enterprises of Belgium, FEB, on the issue of ending the generation of nuclear power in the country within eight years, contrary to its Flemish partners in the ruling federal coalition. Belgium’s Minister of the Environment, Marie-Christine Marghem of the co-ruling Mouvement réformateur (Reformist Movement) indicated that the nuclear plants would not remain in operation beyond 2025, the limit set by the Government Agreement. However, the FEB advocates keeping two nuclear plants running beyond that date. “Closing all the plants by 2025 is a very, very big risk,” FEB Chief Executive Pieter Timmermans said in an interview with various daily newspapers. “There is no study proving that, if the plants are closed by 2025, the cost of energy will be lower and the supply security will be guaranteed. Two need to be kept.”
The Flemish nationalists weighed in in support of the FEB’s concerns on “supply security”. “The vision that should have led to concrete actions since 2015 has still not been implemented,” N-VA parliamentarian Bert Wollants said. “It is therefore logical to analyse all options in terms of supply and cost.”
On the other hand, the N-VA’s Flemish partners in the government, the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open Vld) and Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) parties, have expressed serious reservations about the FEB’s statement.
Among French-speaking politicians, the reactions have been mitigated. The spokesperson for the Walloon Minister of Energy, Jean-Luc Crucke, preferred not to comment on the issue before meetings are held at the various levels of power and there is something “concrete” at hand.
And the head of the Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH) in parliament, Catherine Fonck, called on Twitter for “an energy pact among all levels of power, integrating the nuclear exit”. She described this as an ambitious aim, calling on all actors to set to work urgently.