Tuesday 21st of March 2023

nobody in germany talks about the franco-german couple. It is only in france that we speak of it........

Henri Proglio is honorary president of EDF. He was its CEO between 2009 and 2014.

He gives here a terrible testimony. It could be believed to be a fake. But the video of which the text below is the transcription proves its veracity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3T0bAsUBXE

We also listen to the discussion that followed between Mr. Proglio and the deputies.



"In 2009, I was very proud to arrive at the head of a formidable company with a turnover of just 90 billion, known throughout the world for its relevance and efficiency, with financial characteristics very satisfactory. EDF is the leading operator in Europe and probably worldwide if we exclude China. EDF was the result of a formidable adventure, a vision, and a will, that of a government which in 1946 considered that energy, and therefore electricity, was an essential element of economic life, and that it was therefore important to consider it as strategic.


The government of the time set itself three major challenges:

- the challenge of energy independence,

- the challenge of the territory's competitiveness,

- the challenge of public electricity service accessible to all, with the same quality and at the same price.


It was an incredibly demanding challenge backed by a clear technological choice: hydraulics and nuclear. There was a long-term vision and a clear desire to succeed and that's what gave birth to this industrial adventure. .

EDF was an overall architect and the operator of the public electricity service. It was an integrated, coherent and optimised system including generation, transmission and distribution. At the start of the 21st century, EDF was an energy exporter, with the cheapest electricity in Europe (two and a half times cheaper than Germany), a public service contract which set the benchmark in the world and it gave France a formidable asset in terms of greenhouse gases.

The bets were raised, all that was left to do was destroy everything... It's done! Since we had arrived at the asymptote, how did we arrive at the current situation? I see two main actors: Europe and the French government.


All European regulations for 10 years have only aimed at the disintegration of the EDF company. This Europe which has taken competition as its almost unique ideological axis, which of course “makes the people happy”... We can see what happens in terms of energy.


For EDF, this has translated concretely into competition between dams. Great idea, a dam being essentially a tool for optimising the electrical system since it is the only intelligent and efficient means of storage that we have today. A dam serves primarily to store much more than to produce. The competition was to remove the storage. It's awesome. The dams belong to the State and are managed by EDF. The State had planned to obey the European doctrine and to put the dams in competition. Nothing has been concluded yet, but nothing is settled. We remain in levitation... We will no doubt be punished.


The second ingenious law is the NOME law (New Organization of the Electricity Market) which consists of imposing on EDF the sale at a knock-down price, since it is below cost price, of 25% of its nuclear electricity production to its own competitors so that they can sell their energy to EDF customers. It worked very well, they became rich. It is absolutely relevant and I have denounced it for years with the effectiveness you see.


To top it off, it was necessary to define a market price which was indexed to the price of gas. Why, when we don't use it? Because the Germans use gas and the whole process is German and the European regulations are German.


Germany has chosen industry as the major axis of its economy and Ostpolitik for its development. This is clear and consistent for Germany. They attempted their Energiewende (the German transition) which turned into an absolute disaster since it resulted in a weakening of German operators almost in ruins. How do you expect this country, which has based its wealth, its efficiency and its credibility on its industry, to accept that France has a competitive tool as powerful as EDF at its doorstep? The obsession of the Germans for 30 years has been the disintegration of EDF. They succeeded !

The second actor is French national policy. There, we witnessed the pathetic search for an electoral agreement with an anti-nuclear party. We can see the beginnings of this in 1997-1998 with the abandonment of the fast neutron reactor sector, which called into question the logic of the French nuclear system. Then there was Fukushima's formidable communication campaign with the 20,000 dead who never existed because the tsunami was confused with the accident. And then the climax with the 2012 campaign with its procession of fun. The announced closure of 28 nuclear reactors, just that, which was transformed by the Fessenheim closure commitment, and the reduction to 50% of the nuclear share in the electricity mix


I witnessed the development of an absurd theory that was imposed on me with great insistence by the public authorities: the theory of electrical decay. It was necessary to consider that the demand for electricity was going to fall in France and that consequently it was necessary to reduce the power of super-powerful nuclear power. Consequences: decline in research efforts, misalignment of the strategies of companies dependent on the State, AREVA, CEA and EDF driven by divergent currents, with the corollary of the overall weakening of the system and the recruitment difficulties that we have experienced in this landscape where nuclear power was considered infamous and without a future. That's the situation. Nothing is ever hopeless but things have been very damaged.


I fought tirelessly to obtain the ARENH at 42 euros while my interlocutors were offering 39 euros or even 36 euros. Obviously, no changes have been taken into account since then. This price was set authoritatively after a very unequal fight since I tried to defend common sense, so I was on the wrong side. The very principle of this transfer price was absurd. The principle for an industrialist to agree to sell his own production to his virtual competitors who have no obligation to produce themselves. It's still surreal. We made the fortune of traders, not industrialists. We have no or very few competitors. A few wind turbines scattered to the four winds and a few photovoltaic fields, you see the laughable aspect of the subject. And you see communications campaigns from these traders claiming to be selling green energy. We witnessed this for years before the customer who was taken advantage of ended up realising that he no longer had a guarantee. Where is the public electricity service that has rewarded us so much? Why shoot him down? Why is it up to the state today to make the necessary compensation so that low-income people can access electricity? It was all planned!


I experienced all the blackmails. The only blackmail that obsesses me is the interest of France. I would like a simple answer to this question: for whom and what are these regulations for? What is the point ? They answered me: “we make the people happy! Free competition! But there is only one producer, comrade! It was clear that this was going to end in disaster. We are seeing it today.

The figure of 50% nuclear in the energy mix was built completely on a wet finger by saying: we are going to reduce the share of nuclear from 75% to 50%. No one has ever estimated him otherwise than like that! We deduced from this that the number of reactors had to be reduced... On the other hand, no one ever knew where the other 50% came from... There is hydraulics, which is a very good renewable energy steady. The rest of renewables is the German experience. They have invested 500 billion euros in renewables. 500 billion euros! You can see the effectiveness...

EDF was the French nuclear leader. The government at the time said "not at all, it's the Prime Minister" (Jean-Marc Ayrault). He organised meetings at Matignon to distribute nuclear roles internationally. Ubu king... I attended colourful meetings. I warned about the dangers of ARENH following the Champsaur report and I got a political response: "I understand, I understand...". There comes a time when decision trumps thinking. This measure (ARENH) was iniquitous and was intended to break a company like EDF. I regret that it was accepted by the French government under pressure from Brussels and Germany.


In 2012 Angela Merkel told me: “I am a scientist from East Germany, I totally believe in nuclear power” but she had to build a coalition agreement. She therefore opened negotiations with the German conservative Greens. Among the Germans there are conservative Greens and left-wing Greens, they are not the same. To complete these negotiations, it dropped nuclear power. She told me: “I did it for political reasons, not at all technical or scientific”. Germany is aware of its own interests. Nobody in Germany talks about the Franco-German couple. It is only in France that we speak of the Franco-German couple.


I don't think we gave up on EDF's sacrifice. I don't know of any tradeoffs. I do not see why France does not take the initiative, like Spain and Portugal, to leave the European energy market”.