The EU’s Energy Policy That Kills: The Case of Romania
The European Union’s Green Deal and its predecessors have had devastating effects on Eastern European countries in particular, in respect both to the phase out of coal mining and to the requirement for all power plants to purchase “carbon certificates” to compensate for the amount of CO2 their production emits. In fact, under the so-called Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which is a financial scam in itself, the price of emitting CO2 from EU power plants has risen from €5 per ton in 2016 to nearly €40 today!
In Romania, which only joined the EU in 2007, coal-fired plants still produce about 25% of the country’s electricity, while coal mining is the backbone of economic life in a number of areas. A brief, but shocking, overview of the situation on the ground was given by Romanian-born Alexandra Bellea, an activist of Solidarité et Progrès in Paris, during a June 16 webinar of the German Civil Rights Movement Solidarity.
In 1989, Romania had a population of 23 million, it had industry and was energy independent, she explained. In 2021, the population is down to only 19 million, five million of whom work abroad, while the so-called energy transition has robbed the country of its energy independence. The “most depopulated cities are those in the coal regions” –and it will get worse under the EU’s energy policy.
Just this past winter, the coal power plant Mintia was suddenly shut down completely, “because it no longer met EU environmental standards and was already bankrupt because of the carbon certificates.” Since it also supplied district heating for some 4,700 homes in the city, “all those residents found themselves with no heating and no warm water, and winter is very cold there.”
In late April of this year, in accordance with EU dictates, all coal-fired plants in Rumania had to “spend millions of euros to purchase ‘carbon certificates’. Some of them did not have the means to do so and now have to pay hefty fines.” They may well go bankrupt as well, including the one in Timisoara (where the Revolution began in 1989).
Also in April, miners in the Jiu Valley held a sit-in for several days at the mine to demand payment of their wages, after their employer had been driven into insolvency by the EUimposed fines and fees to pay, while “workers in coal-fired power plants have mobilized for 19 weeks now to demand better working conditions, under the slogan ‘Stop the social genocide in the energy sector’.”
Two counties in Romania will be particularly hard hit by the closure of coal mines, Hunedoara and Gorj. “A study by the EU’s Scientific Department predicts a loss of about 25,000 jobs directly, but beyond that, the entire economy of the region is based on coal. What’s going to happen to these people, what should they do, should they go to Germany to pick asparagus?”
The EU’s Green Deal, Alexandra Bellea insisted, is a deliberate policy of deindustrialization and depopulation. It must be stopped now.