GRAZ, Sept. 17, 2000 (APA) — The right-wing Freedom Party (FP) says Austria should block EU negotiations with Slovenia until it promises to close down its nuclear power station at Krsko.

Stopping Krsko must be made a precondition for Slovenia joining the EU, said FP faction leader in parliament Peter Westenthaler during a local election appearance here on Friday.

Campaign with him for Styrian provincial elections on October 15, top local FP politician Herbert Peinhaupt claimed there had already been four major incidents at Krsko.

Also the power station, 150 kilometers from Graz, was in an earthquake zone, said Peinhaupt who is FP leader in the parliament of Styria.

He said nothing had come of plans for Austria to help its south-eastern neighbour build up other energy sources. Moves to close Krsko in 1995 had also come to nothing.

Now there was “the chance of the century” to put pressure on Slovenia because of its wish to join the EU, said Peinhaupt.

The Austrian procedure should be similar to one last week involving another of this country’s neighbours, the Czech Republic, said Westenthaler.

Last week, the Austrian parliament called on the government to hold up EU “energy chapter” membership negotiations with the Czech Republic over the Czech nuclear plant at Temelin.

Austria should block a conclusion of the energy chapter of the current negotiations until Prague showed that Temelin was up to EU environment and safety standards, an all-party resolution said.

Relations between the Czech Republic and Austria are strained over Temelin which is 60 kilometers from the northern Austrian border and will go operational this month.

Austrian official sources claim the reactors are unsafe, which is vehemently denied by the Czechs.

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