Luxembourg backs Austria in legal action over Hungarian nuclear power plant

Luxembourg stands with Austria in its lawsuit launched against the European Commission at the European Court of Justice over a controversial nuclear power plant expansion in Hungary, Luxembourg’s Minister of the Environment Carole Dieschbourg announced on Monday.
Dieschbourg said the renaissance of nuclear energy needs to be thwarted, adding that public funds should no longer be invested into nuclear power. That is why Luxembourg has decided to actively intervene on the side of Austria against a European Commission approval of Hungary’s state aid for the Paks 2 project, she added.

Austria decided in January to take the EU executive to court for green-lighting the Paks 2 project. Russia will construct two new blocks for the Paks NPP and finance 80% of the expansion.

Last March, the Commission gave the final go-ahead for the project, and said that Hungary's state aid is not illegal after commitments by Budapest to limit distortions in competition.

Austria objected immediately.

On 23 February, Austria launched a lawsuit against the European Commission for its approval of Hungarian state aid for the construction of two new reactors at the Paks nuclear power plant. The deadline was 25 February.

The case will now be considered by the European Court of Justice and a notice will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union within the next few months.

Austria launched a similar legal action against the EC in 2015 over its approval of the UK's support for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project in Somerset, England.

"I am very pleased that Luxembourg is joining the complainants with regards to the extension of the Paks nuclear plant and is joining us in court proceedings. This strengthens our position. Further action will be taken at European level," Austria's minister for sustainability, agriculture and tourism Elisabeth Koestinger said, arriving to a Brussels council meeting.

Koestinger and Dieschbourg also said they are seeking a Europe-wide anti-nuclear alliance, Euobserver reported on Monday.

"We have great hopes for the new German coalition. In the coalition agreement, they also say that no state aid should be granted to build nuclear power plants. On Wednesday, I'll meet Frau [Barbara] Hendricks [German minister for environment and nuclear safety] in Berlin and we will talk about this topic," Koestinger added..

Front page photo by Ákos Stiller

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