Tuesday, 19 April 2005
European Council Meetings.
Trevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
On nuclear power, which arose in item No. 47 in the summit's conclusions, what was the Government's position about building what is called "an international thermonuclear experimental reactor"? It is a nuclear fusion project. Mindful of the concerns from the RPII about Sellafield perhaps, was the Government in a position to offer a view or to make any meaningful statement on the matter? Notwithstanding the seismically active area in which it is to be located, some €4.5 billion will be required to build such a plant and billions more to run it. Was that financial question raised in terms of overall EU budgetary considerations in the EU vis-À-vis the research funding that is going to non-nuclear energy options, which is not far from the research money going to nuclear options? Will the Taoiseach say whether the Government has a view on climate change, a matter which was also raised at the summit? Were views expressed on that, given that the target of reducing CO2 emissions by 68% to 80% by 2050 was completely left out of the conclusions? Did the Taoiseach express a view as to whether the Government will meaningfully embrace those targets? If not, what is the Government's view? Does it see nuclear power as a way of reaching those EU targets?
A mid-term review of the Lisbon strategy was carried out at the summit but does the Taoiseach consider that the strategy is on course? Five years ago, the Taoiseach pledged the strategy would have a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by 2010. Some 68 million people in the EU are currently living in poverty. Is that seen as progress? Can the Taoiseach say whether lessons from the Danish welfare system will be used to try to make any meaningful impact in eradicating poverty, given our own problems with the worst rate of relative poverty in the 25 EU member states? Will the Lisbon strategy on eradicating poverty be put on track, as it does not seem to be at the moment?