UK threatens to hit back at Austria over Hinkley Point legal challenge

UK threatens to hit back at Austria over Hinkley Point legal challenge

UK ministers are warning their Austrian counterparts that an arsenal of retaliatory measures will be launched if Vienna goes ahead with plans to challenge an EU state aid decision approving subsidies for new nuclear reactors at Hinkley point in Somerset.

A diplomatic cable from the Austrian embassy in London to Vienna, seen by the Guardian, says that the Foreign Office’s Europe director, Vijay Rangarajan, conveyed a message that “the UK will take in the future every opportunity to sue or damage Austria in areas that have strong internal political effects,” unless the lawsuit was dropped.

Initial measures would include: a complaint to the European Court about Austrian electricity labelling rules, pressure for Austria to contribute more to EU effort – sharing funds when it does not accept nuclear power as a “sustainable energy source”, and an investigation into whether Austria’s suit violated the Euratom treaty.

“Further steps and escalation cannot be excluded after the complaint has been submitted,” the cable says.

Austria’s chancellor Werner Faymann is seeking a meeting with David Cameron at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, after the foreign minister, Philip Hammond, called his Austrian opposite number, Sebastian Kurz, to protest Austria’s planned court action, the Guardian has learned.

Source: The Guardian

Date: February 2015

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