French economy minister Emmanuel Macron calls for timely EDF decision on Hinkley Point post-Brexit vote

 
Jessica Morris
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Macron said Britain remains an important economic partner (Source: Getty)

The French economy minister has heaped pressure on state-backed utility giant EDF to make a timely decision on its Hinkley Point project following the Brexit vote.

Emmanuel Macron's comments were made during a nuclear conference in Paris. He also warned that further delays to the final investment decision (FID) could add more uncertainty to the £18bn nuclear power plant.

Read more: EDF to sell RTE stake to fund Hinkley Point

"Britain remains an important economic partner and her energy needs are still the same and it is why I still consider that a timely EDF investment decision on Hinkley Point is needed," he said.

The FID has been repeatedly delayed by EDF, which is 85 per cent owned by the French government, with Macron recently saying it will be made in September. The project was previously expected to be signed off in May.

Experts had told City A.M. that Britain's vote to leave the European Union last week had plunged the nuclear power plant into a fresh wave of uncertainty, despite it being critical to the government's energy plans.

Asked whether Brexit could lead to it being scrapped, Angus Brendan MacNeil, chair of the energy and climate select committee, said: "Anything could happen ... Hinkley is in a very different position this week than it was last week."

Read more: Hinkley Point dealt fresh blow as French trade unions continue to oppose it

"At the very least the FID will again be kicked down the road ... you can't see the French committing billions to a country they thought was in the European Union and no longer is," he added.

Peter Atherton, utilities analyst at Jefferies, said: "It's yet another added complication in what's already a very complicated process."

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