Nuclear energy political index: where does each party stand?

Nuclear energy political index: where does each party stand?

This real-time index measures the actual position of all European political parties represented in the European Parliament, based on how they are voting on nuclear energy policy. Given the changing geo-political context, the positions of political parties suffer substantial shifts when it comes to using (and subsidising) various sources of energy. For this reason, we thought it would be interesting to keep track of these developments. 

Note: we are working on similar analysis for other types of energy. 

In practice, this research measures how supportive – critical each European party is in relation to nuclear energy (compared to the other parties in the EP). Some political parties believe that the EU should be much more critical of nuclear energy, others would like the EU to be more supportive, while many other parties are somewhere in between. 

The votes in the European Parliament allow us to take very accurate snapshots, as all the parties across the EU vote on the exact same political statements at the same time (and hence same circumstances), which provides the necessary ground for a solid and objective comparison (as opposed to looking at scattered statements issued in different circumstances). 

How to access the data: at the bottom of this article you will find the interactive infographic and spot the positions of all parties. However, if this is the first time you are reading this, we suggest that you first go through the methodological and contextual notes below, to make the most of this information. 

There are currently over 200 parties in the European Parliament, coming from the 27 EU member states, and this research makes it easy to make comparisons between them, since all these parties have voted on the exact same proposals at the exact same time. 

This index uses objective data from the voting sessions of the European Parliament to determine what is the real position of each party, in order to reduce the distortions generated by inaccurate news. The index is transparent and you can easily track how it was built, as we are providing the full list of votes that we took into account (you can then check how the MEPs voted on each vote by navigating through the EP website, or ask for a premium subscription to our own analytical database). 

In total, we have found over 25 key votes that concern nuclear energy issues since the beginning of the EP term (July 2019). We have looked into all of these, interpreted their meaning and checked how each party voted on each of them. 

This index was last updated to include the votes that took place in the European Parliament in early October 2022.

Note: this assessment is based on behaviour in the European Parliament, which might occasionally differ from the positions adopted by the leaders of the parties at home (as in the case of the French Renaissance, etc.). It shows the positions the delegations of parliamentarians that these parties have sent to represent them in European decision-making. These parliamentarians sometimes have (or develop) their own views, especially as a result of interaction with their colleagues from the other countries (the so-called “European socialisation effect”). 

Key findings so far:

Conservative parties are generally more supportive of nuclear energy than center-left forces. The parties affiliated to the EPP and ECR political networks are pushing for keeping (or even increasing) nuclear power as an important part of the EU energy mix. Within the EPP, the Italian and Swedish delegations are the most “convinced” in this direction, while the Austrians, the Luxembourgish and the Portuguese are at EPP’s opposite end. The ECR-affiliated parties are all on the pro-nuclear side. Within the Renew Group there is a very wide range of views: at the pro-nuclear “extreme” we find the Czechs, the Swedish and the Dutch VVD, while at the anti-nuclear “extreme we find the Slovaks, the Hungarians and the other Duch party, the D66. 

The S&D group is generally sceptical of the role of nuclear energy, but here too there are substantial variations, with the Romanian and Bulgarians being at the pro-nuclear end and the Hungarians and the French at the anti-nuclear end. Among the other groups, the Greens and the Left are on the anti-nuclear side, while the parties in the nationalist ID group are generally pro-nuclear. 

Overall, if we disregard the political composition of each national delegation, the measurements find that the CEE countries are the most supportive of this type of energy, while the Austrians, Portuguese and Irish are most opposed. 

How to read the interactive chart below:

The parties that are at the extreme right of that chart are the most supportive of nuclear energy, meaning that they have voted in favour of even the most far-reaching proposals to promote the use and funding of nuclear energy. Concretely, in this category you will find parties like Law and Justice (Poland), Rassemblement National (France), Lega (Italy) and Fidesz (Hungary), but also several EPP members, such Italian Forza Italia and Swedish Moderaterna.

Conversely, the parties that are at the extreme left of this chart are the most critical of nuclear energy, meaning that they have supported most of the proposals that ask the EU to have a hard stance on nuclear energy. In this part of the chart you find parties like the German and the French Greens, most parties from The Left group, but also some parties from S&D, Renew or even the EPP (especially the Austrians).

NB: on the vertical axis the parties are placed based on the size of their delegation in the European Parliament. 

Tip: click on the names of the political groups to find the outliers in each group. Use the filters to find parties from specific countries that you are interested in.

For more information about the positions of MEPs and Governments on energy (or any other) policy, contact us at [email protected].

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