French Minister Urges Rapid Energy Cooperation With Germany

Government ministers from France and Germany will meet next week in Berlin to discuss ways of forging closer energy ties as the two nations embark upon major policy shifts, French Environment Minister Philippe Martin said.

“We should examine very quickly the subjects where we can make progress,” Martin told reporters yesterday in Paris after announcing the Feb. 3 talks with German Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

French President Francois Hollande earlier this month called for the creation of a Franco-German energy alliance. He compared the endeavor to Airbus Group NV, the European commercial airplane maker that has operations in both France and Germany.

The two nations plan to transform electricity production in the coming decade. Their leaders have pledged to reduce reliance on nuclear power and are grappling with how to fund subsidies that encourage renewable-power production.

The European Commission’s proposed climate and energy policies unveiled last week would also be on the agenda at the meeting with Gabriel, Martin said.

“It’s a first contact to see if our priorities are the same,” Martin said. “We want to see if we can have a privileged partnership with the Germans on these questions even if we have different energy strategies.”

The Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, is calling for a 40 percent reduction in the region’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030.

Possible “alliances on renewables” could be discussed, Martin said. Speaking Jan. 27 in Paris, Gabriel cited opportunities for investment in power grids and energy efficiency as well as “joint industrial activities” in areas such as renewables.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.