France’s parliament must pass a bill on reforming utility EDF and the country’s sprawling nuclear sector by October if the plan is to be agreed in time for a presidential election in 2022, the prime minister’s office said on Wednesday. The reforms, which have sparked wrangling with the European Union and labour unions, involve raising price guarantees on nuclear power that state-controlled EDF sells to third-party providers, helping the debt-laden utility cover its costs. The government has recapitalised EDF in the past and has for now agreed to take dividend payouts in shares to alleviate pressure on the company’s finances. A crowded parliamentary agenda is piling pressure on France to reach a deal quickly with antitrust authorities in Brussels over the restructuring of EDF, the first step needed before reforms can go ahead. Sources told Reuters last week that talks between Paris and the European Commission had entered a make-or-break phase, with end-March seen as a deadline to reach an agreement over antitrust and state aid issues or abandon the plan for now.
Reuters 17th March 2021 read more »