PARIS (Reuters) - France has made proposals to the European Commission which could accede to long-standing demands by the EU’s executive for France to privatize its hydro power concessions mostly operated by state-controlled utility EDF, CGT union said Wednesday.
The mines and energy branch of the hard left CGT, said in a statement that it had learned of the proposals following a meeting on Wednesday between unions and the French prime minister’s office.
The CGT said the government had secretly made proposals to Brussels without discussing them, primarily with workers who would be impacted by the privatization plans.
“These proposals would accelerate the privatization of dams,” CGT said in the statement, adding that the method was incoherent and could greatly limit ways existing operators could keep running their hydraulic works.
The French government declined to comment.
The European Commission has asked France to privatize some hydro power concessions so as to open the sector to competition.
About 80 percent of state-owned hydro power concessions are managed by EDF and another 15 percent by French energy group Engie.
France has 25,519 megawatts of installed hydro power capacity, second behind nuclear energy. Hydro power covered 10 percent of French electricity demand in 2017.
The CGT, which has argued against the privatization saying it could jeopardize French energy security, said in the statement that it would organize a riposte against the plan.
The union had called for strikes in the past to protest the privatization plan.
Reporting by Simon Carraud, Benjamin Mallet and Jean-Baptiste Vey Writing by Bate Felix