A spokesperson for Elisabeth Köstinger, Austria’s environmental minister, announced Monday that Austria would challenge Hungary’s Paks 2 nuclear plant expansion in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), reports 24.hu, citing Austrian news sources.
According to Vienna.at, the Austrian government will challenge the European Commission’s decision to green-light Hungary’s controversial expansion of Paks 2, taking issue with the environmental risks the nuclear power plant poses and the project not being a common European interest.
Critics of the Paks 2 expansion have argued that the project would result in a distortion of regional energy prices and would run the risk of requiring restricted state aid.
The European Commission approved the Paks 2 expansion last year, more than three years after the Hungarian government announced it had reached an agreement with the Russian government for construction of two new reactors. The EUR 12 billion project will be carried out by Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy company.
Index.hu reports that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is scheduled to have his first meeting with Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz. This issue will no doubt come up, as will Austrian plans to reduce subsidies for families whose children do not live in the country (in other words, Hungarian parents working in Austria but whose children live in Hungary).
Benedek Jávor MEP, a member of Hungarian opposition party Párbeszéd (Dialogue for Hungary) and staunch critic of the project, welcomed Austria’s announcement, tweeting: “market principles need to prevail on the entire energy market of the union, no exceptions for #nuclear,” and “#Paks2 will provide around half of HU electricity & will distort the regional market, incl. the Austrian energy market.”