60 years after signing the two Treaties of Rome, we should not forget Euratom
This Saturday, Europe will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the two Treaties of Rome establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The Euratom Treaty recognised nuclear energy as an essential resource for the development and invigoration of Europe.
On 25 March 1957, six European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) signed the two Treaties of Rome. One of them created the European Atomic Energy Community, because nuclear energy was perceived as a key component for promoting growth, prosperity and security of energy supply across Europe. Article 1 of the Euratom Treaty called for the prompt setting up and development of nuclear industries in order to help raise standards of living among the Member States. The Euratom Treaty entered into force on 1 January 1958.
For sixty years, nuclear energy has been an example of what an “energy union” at EU level should look like. The Euratom Treaty established the European Atomic Energy Community to enable the European Union to speak with one voice on nuclear energy issues. It enabled the EU to regulate effectively on safeguards, radioprotection, radioactive spent fuel & waste management and nuclear safety. The Treaty also created the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) to make sure that a regular and equitable supply of uranium is made available to all users in the EU. Nuclear is the only source that benefits from the supervision of an agency that oversees supply contracts.
Today, the objectives of the Euratom Treaty remain unchanged. In accordance with Article 2 of the Euratom Treaty, the European Union shall “facilitate investment and ensure, particularly by encouraging ventures on the part of undertakings, the establishment of the basic installations necessary for the development of nuclear energy in the Community”.
FORATOM underlines the essential contribution made by nuclear energy to achieving the key objectives of the Energy Union: decarbonisation, competitiveness and security of electricity supply. Today, with 129 nuclear power plants operating in 14 of the 28 EU Member States, nuclear power accounts for 27% of the EU’s electricity production and provides nearly half of the EU’s low-carbon electricity. Nuclear power plants provide also stable base-load capacity for up to 60 years and support 800.000 jobs in Europe. Nuclear will be an important contributor to the EU’s goal of decarbonising its economy by 80-95% by 2050.