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In good company: the German energy transition and its echo in France

Authors : Andreas Rudinger et Kathrin GlastraWith / 27th of April 2017

The German-French debate on energy policies is an incomprehensible “dialogue of the deaf”. Aside from the fact that the energy policies in both countries follow totally different traditions and, as a result, can be difficult for the respective neighbours to understand, the issue isn’t helped by the fact that one’s perception of a neighbouring country is shaped by stereotypes, which sometimes colours the view of change or innovation. The image of France as the ‘Grande Nation’, which is defined by its identity as a nuclear power, can be just as ingrained in Germany as the image of an ecological and anti-nuclear Germany is in France. There is hardly another policy area where the views of both countries are more divergent than in energy-related matters. While Germany has managed to establish the nuclear phase-out project as a worldwide “energy transition” brand and is celebrating the Renewable Energies Act as an export success, the nuclear industry continues to form part and parcel of the national identity of France. It is as if the term 'nucleocracy' was invented for France: the power of the atom, born from the close interrelationship between the ubiquitous nuclear technology, centralised power structures, and a state-controlled energy economy. [...]

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