The Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen (FNG), which promotes sustainable investment in Austria, Germany and Switzlerland, has not yet received a response to its open letter to the European Commission calling for the exclusion of nuclear power as a sustainable economic activity under the EU Taxonomy, a spokesperson for FNG confirmed to IPE.

The open letter, published in August, was signed by Union Investment, Deka Investments, LBBW Asset Management, Raiffeisen Capital Management, Kepler Fonds, Impact Asset Management and Hannoversche Kassen, a German occupational pensions provider for the non-profit sector, among others.

It was directed to Frans Timmermans, executive vice president of the Commission responsible for the European Green Deal; to Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president for the Commission’s Economy that Works for People group; to Mairead McGuinness, the commissioner for financial services, financial stability and capital markets union; and to Virginijus Sinkevičius, the commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.

The Commission has not yet decided on whether nuclear power will be included as a sustainable economic activity in the taxonomy. However, based on “current developments it looks as if the EU Commission would classify nuclear power and natural gas as sustainable economic activities,” the FNG’s spokesperson added.

FNG is “very critical of this development”, the spokesperson said, adding that “the classification of nuclear power and natural gas as sustainable under the EU taxonomy would undermine the credibility of a green taxonomy and slow down or hinder the transformation” towards a sustainable economy, the spokesperson added.

The signatories of the open letter believe in fact that classifying nuclear energy as a sustainable economic activity would be detrimental to reach the common objective of promoting sustainable finance.

Moreover, the problem of nuclear waste storage puts nuclear energy at odds with sustainability. Nuclear energy is a key exclusion criterion for sustainable finance products throughout Europe, according to FNG’s open letter.

The inclusion of nuclear energy in the taxonomy is proving to be a highly contentious issue triggering a division among member states. The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, wrote in an article for the German newspaper Die Welt in October that “it is absolutely essential” to include nuclear energy in the taxonomy by the end of 2021.

The finance ministers for Romania, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary endorsed the article. Earlier this year, however, the ministers for Germany, Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain urged the Commission to avoid including nuclear energy in the taxonomy.

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