Members of the European Parliament adopted an amendment to the EU’s green plans which will see the gradual reduction to the use of primary wood as renewable energy. The proposition is part of the EU’s plan to ensure renewable energies represent 45 percent of the total energy consumed in the EU by 2030.
But the plans have been lambasted in France as they risk affecting 450,000 jobs in the wood industry.
Les Patriotes leader Florian Philippot warned: “A European directive wants to stab the French forest and the entire wood industry (450,000 jobs), by largely excluding primary wood from the definition of renewable energies!
“Ideological madness and suicide! Let it be known! Frexit!”
Writing for La Tribune, professor of physics, national spokesperson and member of the political office of the Ecology party, Loic Rousselle, also branded the proposals as “incomprehensible”.
He wrote: “This incomprehensible decision contradicts the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide in particular) which justifies and legitimises, let us remember, the entire energy policy of the European Union.”
He added: “The position of theThe EU is also a real stab in the back for the entire French wood energy sector, because if wood ceases to be considered a renewable energy, that implies a stop to subsidies linked to this status.
“However, these subsidies are necessary for the development of this sector and its financial balance.”
In France, wood energy represents 32.9 percent of total renewable energy, making it by far the first of its renewable energies.
READ MORE: EU accused of being like China with harsh import limits
Rousselle asked: “Are the MEPs who voted for this directive aware of the number oflocal jobs at stake?
“The wood sector represents 450,000 jobs in France, spread over the whole territory, mainly in wood processing activities because, in France, wood is first and foremost used for furniture and woodwork.
“Only the non-usable parts of the trees are used as firewood.”
The European Union is fundamentally revamping its policies on dealing with critical raw materials, imposing limits on imports from countries like China while unleashing subsidies and other financial incentives to ramp up home production, according to angry MEPs.
The plans by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, are essential in moving toward a climate neutral economy, while also increasing its strategic independence in a shifting world of geopolitical alliances.
But they have been lambasted across Europe over the danger of following China’s example at the expense of taxpayers.
Italian MEP Marco Zanni said it was the “greatest exercise” of state control over economic matters “ever seen in Europe” and that the subsidies bind the bloc “hands and feet” to Beijing.
The lynchpin in the proposal is a commitment to produce at least 40 percent of the clean tech needed by 2030 in the 27-nation bloc, while at the same time ensuring that not more than 65 percent of consumption of any strategic raw material comes from a single third country — in practice, often China.
The EU now gets 98 percent of its rare earth material, 97 percent of its lithium and 93 percent of magnesium from China.