Monday

19th Nov 2018

Austria draws first red line on EU growth fund

  • Nuclear power plant in Germany, which is in the process of phasing out the energy source (Photo: Bjoern Schwarz)

A key part of the new growth plan for Europe is that the investment projects are chosen on their merits rather than for ideological or political reasons, yet member states are already drawing their potential red lines.

Austria, firmly anti-nuclear, is kicking up about the fact that the planned €315 billion investment scheme could be used to fund the construction of nuclear power plants in Europe.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“It surely cannot be seriously the case that we invest in a Stone Age technology”, Austrian environment minister Andra Rupprechter said Tuesday (16 December) according to press agency APA.

Rupprechter called on the Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann to “make [Austria's] massive reservations very clear” during a summit of EU leaders at the end of the week.

He said there should be “an appropriate formula” to ensure Austrian money isn't funding the construction of new nuclear power plants, although he deemed projects that increase the safety of existing plants "useful".

Rupprechter’s comments come as some member states have already called for money to be put towards nuclear projects.

The UK has requested a €57.8 billion loan for “three potential projects with a total of 12.2GW capacity”, including the controversial Hinkley Point C.

Poland hopes to launch nuclear power as a “new sector of the Polish economy” and aims to attract funding for the construction of a nuclear plant with a capacity of about 3 gigawatts.

Germany, for its part, is in the process of phasing out nuclear energy as part of its "energy change" following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

Several other EU countries are also in the process of phasing out their dependence on nuclear power.

The EU's member states have presented around 2,000 projects that could be funded by the commission's proposed €315 billion investment plan.

The European Commission has said the projects should be chosen according to their quality.

Jyrki Katainen, the commissioner in charge of drumming up investors’ interest in the fund, Monday said that the private sector had told him that using political criteria to decide on projects would mean "no opportunity to attract investment any more".

Projects are instead to assessed by technical experts.

“There will be no sector-specific or country-specific quotas. It will be a non-political, technical assessment”, spokesperson Annika Breidthardt said Tuesday.

However she did not give a clear answer when asked if Austria could veto a project it did not agree with.

“Deciding the energy mix is solely the responsibility of the member states”, spokesperson Annika Breidthardt said.

EU lets UK subsidise nuclear power plant

EU officials have said the UK can use state money to help build a nuclear power plant, despite objections from Austria and Green politicians.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland extradites Polish man despite rule of law concerns
  2. Germany and France agree eurozone budget framework
  3. Austrian foreign minister: EU's Israel policy 'too strict'
  4. Soros and Kurz discuss Central European University move
  5. EU set to tighten rules on foreign strategic investment
  6. Macron repeats call for unified Europe in Bundestag speech
  7. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  8. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem

Opinion

Crunch time to end overfishing in the EU

What happens when a difficult deadline hits? This is precisely what is being played out in EU fisheries as we approach the landmark legal commitment under the Common Fisheries Policy to end overfishing by 2020.

Opinion

No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected

Following the 2030 renewable target of 32 percent, chair of the European Parliament's environment committee Adina Valean argues in order to reach our climate and energy goals, we need both public and private investment over the next decade and beyond.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Spain raises Gibraltar, as EU and UK talk post-2020 relationship
  2. Panic is not answer to EU's security challenges
  3. Dutch flesh out proposal for EU human rights sanctions
  4. EU cheerleaders go to Russia-occupied Ukraine
  5. EU must recognise new force for Balkans destabilisation
  6. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  7. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  8. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us