The French Minister’s move is being seen as an attempt to calm nerves at No. 10 Downing Street while the House of Commons Energy Committee was taking evidence from EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz and junior British energy minister Andrea Leadsom.
The UK government wants EDF – the majority state-owned French nuclear power giant – to build the new atom plant and has guaranteed a price of £92 per unit for 35 years to encourage EDF to make the final investment decision.
This has been delayed a number of times, latterly after EDF management decide to hold a non-binding internal consultation with its workers.
French Industry Minister Emmanuel Marcon told MPs on the Commons Energy Committee: “I have every confidence that a final decision can be made rapidly after the end of the consultation of the EDF Central Works Committee and that it will signal the development of a very fruitful collaboration in the industrial and energy sectors between our two countries.
“We remain fully behind the Hinkley project and this was re-iterated by President Hollande on 17 May 2016.
“While it can be appreciated that a certain amount of impatience may be creeping in as the project is key for the UK’s energy and climate-change policy, it is also necessary, in the interest of all, that EDF follows due process before committing itself to an investment of this magnitude.”