Francois Hollande risks falling short on another pledge as the board of state-controlled energy company EDF next week prepares to vote down his plans to close France’s oldest nuclear plant. The French president promised in 2012 to shut down the Fessenheim power plant near the German and Swiss borders – long a target for anti-nuclear activists – in a bid to win over the Green party. But with just months left of his mandate ahead of the presidential election on April 23, some within EDF are attempting to drag their feet long enough for a change of government, according to three people with knowledge of the situation. The opposition points to how Mr Hollande’s power is weakening ahead of the election, where he has said he will not seek a second term after his approval ratings sank to around 4 per cent. If he were not able to close the nuclear plant, it would be another blow to the legacy of the Socialist president after he failed to meet promised targets to reduce unemployment and disappointed leftwing voters with pro-business policies. The crucial moment for Mr Hollande comes next Tuesday, when Jean-Bernard Levy, chief executive of EDF is planning – at the government’s insistence – to ask the board to sign off on a measure that would allow the closure of the 40-year-old reactor.
FT 21st Jan 2017 read more »