UK threatens retaliation over nuclear spat

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UK threatens retaliation over nuclear spat
Hinkley Point nuclear power station in the UK. Photo: Richard Baker/Wikimedia

According to a report in the Financial Times, Britain's prime minister David Cameron is threatening to retaliate economically against Austria due to the country's opposition to EU funding for an expansion of Britain's nuclear program.


In December, the Austrian government announced that it would move to block a €57.8 billion loan for “three potential projects with a total of 12.2GW capacity”, including the controversial Hinkley Point C.

This week, Austria's ambassador to the UK Martin Eichtinger wrote that the UK has threatened to “sue or hurt” Austria in areas that would have a “strong domestic political impact”.

The move is seen as a threat of retaliation against Austria's moves to challenge the decision by the European Commission last October that British support for the Hinkley project is not equivalent to state aid.

In a meeting with Vijay Rangarajan of the Foreign Office, the UK said that it could retaliate in several ways, including the “systematic creation of countermeasures” against the central European country.

“We won’t let ourselves be intimidated,” Austrian Environment Minister Andrae Rupprechter said late Wednesday on Twitter. “No subsidies for atomic power.”

According to reports, senior ministers of the British government are actively engaging with their Austrian equivalents to lobby against the decision.  If Vienna doesn't back down, the ambassador expects 'further escalation' once the Austrian government officially launches their lawsuit.


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