Brussels, 26 November 2007
The European Nuclear Energy Forum, initiated by the Commission and supported by the March European Council, has been inaugurated today in Bratislava by Prime Minister Robert Fico of the Republic of Slovakia, and by Mirek Topolánek Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and by Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who also conveyed a welcome message from President Barroso.
Referring to the current European energy and climate change context, President Barroso stated in his welcome address that "We are now standing on the brink of a Third Industrial Revolution: the Low Carbon Age. Nuclear energy can have a role to play in meeting our growing concerns about security of supply and CO2 emission reductions. It is of course not the EU's role to decide for Member States whether they use nuclear energy or not. But we can make a significant contribution to the debate in areas such as research and safety and offer a platform for an open dialogue. The Commission is ready and willing to help launch a transparent debate on nuclear energy and to ensure that the public receives relevant and reliable information on the different options available.
The European Nuclear Energy Forum brings together high level representatives from public authorities, Members of the European Parliament, Economic and Social Committee, electricity producers, nuclear industry, consumers, finance, and civil society, for a broad and open discussion on opportunities and risks of nuclear energy.
In his speech, Andris Piebalgs stated that "a high level of safety, security and non-proliferation is the absolute condition for the use of nuclear energy. Public acceptance is the second important pillar. Building up trust in the available information and increasing confidence in the use of nuclear energy are vital elements for public acceptance in a democratic society".
This new Energy Forum is the first in the newly adhered Member States and is co-hosted jointly by 2 countries – a strong and highly symbolic signal by the Republic of Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The Bratislava – Prague Forum will meet twice a year.
The first meeting of the Nuclear Energy Forum will identify the priority issues which should be further discussed in the coming months in preparation of the next Forum meeting early summer 2008 in Prague.