Governments and any other parties wishing to file a lawsuit with the European Court of Justice will await the publication of the Commission’s decision in the Official Journal, expected to be completed this week. Following publication, applicants have eight weeks to file a suit.
Austria and Luxembourg along with other parties have stated their intention to object to the European Commission’s approval of the systemic support for British nuclear power.
Dr Reinhard Schanda, a partner at the Vienna-based law firm Sattler & Schanda, told Power Engineering International, that the Austrian government was working hard on putting the lawsuit together.
“The two month period for filing the claim starts with publishing the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union which, according to my knowledge, has not even yet taken place. There is still plenty of time. I hear that the claim is being worked on intensively.”
Although his opinion isn’t shared by everyone in Vienna’s legal community, Schanda had previously told PEi, “I am pretty convinced that the Austrian government will indeed file the lawsuit. As far as I can tell there is full consensus between the two parties in Austria’s government to go ahead with it. Neither party would be able to step back from this decision. Nuclear power is utterly unpopular in Austria. The British diplomatic threat will only reinforce this consensus within the government.”
The legal action specifically targets the approved strike price – the UK government’s price guarantee – for operator EDF, which is set at £92.50/MWh ($142.20/MWh). If construction of the Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk goes ahead, the strike price will be lowered to £89.50/MWh.
“In our opinion, it is not the job of the commission to grant subsidies of any kind to support nuclear power,” Dafine Mula, of the Social Democratic Party of Austria, said last month.
If Vienna does indeed follow through on presenting the submission, it could prove to be a damaging delay for British nuclear ambitions. State aid proceedings take an average of about two-and-a-half years between the lodging of the action for annulment and the judgment, according to the ECJ’s own statistics.
Power Engineering International has contacted the Austrian government to find out when they intend to file their claim, but has not received a response at the time of writing.
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