Heading into the Christmas week, atomic power is a topic on which France and Germany broadly differ, and one that has become a big thorn in the side of the EU as the 27-nation bloc decides whether to include nuclear-generated energy among the economic activities that qualify for sustainable investment.

The leaders of the European Union’s two most important nations faced reporters together during a joint news conference early Friday, a show of unity at the end of the EU’s final summit of the year.

Then two words – “nuclear energy” – intervened.

Heading into the Christmas week, atomic power is a topic on which France and Germany broadly differ, and one that has become a big thorn in the side of the EU as the 27-nation bloc decides whether to include nuclear-generated energy among the economic activities that qualify for sustainable investment.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who took office last week, and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on most of the issues tackled during Thursday’s summit, including Ukraine-Russia tensions and an immigration dispute with Belarus.

On the the sustainable investment rules, however, the two leaders have yet to reach a compromise. The rift over nuclear energy was enough to scuttle any agreement on energy prices during the summit.

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