Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has confirmed that his country will be registering its lawsuit against the European Commission for its approval of a subsidy deal to finance the Hinkley Point nuclear plant, within ‘a few weeks.’
The news will be a bitter blow to British plans to build the plant, with a legal counsel for the Austrian government earlier this week stating that the action will automatically stall development of the nuclear power plant for between five and eight years.
Referring to the British Prime Minister David Cameron as ‘an incorrigible cynic’, the Federal Chancellor confirmed in an interview with the daily newspaper AUSTRIA, “We have the suit ready and will bring it in a couple of weeks before the European Court. We are complaining against the European Commission’s decision to allow the UK state to finance the costly expansion of a nuclear power plant.”
Faymann sees the lawsuit as “important signal” to Europe: “One should promote alternative forms of energy subsidies – but the nuclear plans of David Cameron, we want to stop this action.”
Austria’s ambassador to the UK warned earlier this year of the potential implications of the country’s complaint, but Faymann dismissed the concerns. “[The UK government] will not be happy, but neither are we if a nuclear plant is built with such a high subsidy.”
Earlier this year the message from British diplomatic channels was unequivocal on the matter of retaliatory action being pursued. Foreign Office’s Europe director, Vijay Rangarajan, conveyed a message that “the UK will take in the future every opportunity to sue or damage Austria in areas that have strong internal political effects,” unless the lawsuit was dropped.
Faymann told Austria magazine he would not be intimidated by the threats. “It may well be that David Cameron, if he is re-elected next week, would have us in some form or difficulties But we Austrians are known for our perspective on nuclear power. .It is a clear stance. We have long been the Gauls in Europe who have fought alone against nuclear power – and we will now continue to fight against an incorrigible cynic like David Cameron holding inflammatory speeches in favour of nuclear power plants, we will now proceed with lawsuits.”
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