Tuesday, 19 April 2005
European Council Meetings.
Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
For a long time, this country has had a policy of not supporting the nuclear industry. In so far as any resources have been committed at European level, it has only been done to help deal with old reactors in eastern Europe or in some of the new accession countries that are still under discussion.
At European level, there is rarely any attempt by countries to fight any nuclear line, particularly since Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his Government took a strong stance on the issue. That will remain the policy position. There are countries with nuclear reactors that do not see themselves changing in the time ahead. We had that problem with EURATOM because we argued to open the debate but unanimity on the EURATOM conventions was needed and if there was not unanimity, we could not proceed, even though a strong bloc of countries supported a reconfiguration of EURATOM. We have continued to campaign for that to be dealt with because it is a dated agreement. We should try to deal with it in a different way.