In all sorts of different ways, energy policy will be high up on the agenda of Europe in the years to come.
In a sure sign of this, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has now announced that he would look at the possibility of building new nuclear plants in order to replace those that are beginning to age, and that accordingly will have to be replaced with something.
In fact there are few good alternatives to using nuclear power. To replace nuclear power with some version of fossil power would clearly endanger the Kyoto objectives that not the least the Blair government has attacked such importance to.
So what Blair is doing now is sending up a trial ballon. If it flies OK, then I guess he will forge ahead with what would then be the most significant new program of nuclear energy in Europe for decades. And this is bound to influence other countries.
Finland is already building a fifth nuclear plant. Sweden is upgrading its existing ten units as much as it can. And throughout Central and Eastern Europe there will be a need to look anew at the nuclear option in the years ahead.
Europe needs to face reality also in terms of its energy policies.
We can not increase our dependence on non-renewable and fossil fuels beyond present levels.
And that makes nuclear power an almost unavoidable option for the future.
äSpeech to the CBI Conference 29 November