Vienna and Visegrád 4 at odds over nuclear power
Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met the leaders of the Visegrád states in Prague on Thursday. Among other topics they discussed energy policy and climate protection, with Kurz saying that under no circumstance would Vienna agree to the EU providing funds for the expansion of nuclear energy to achieve its climate goals. Commentators in Prague and Bratislava see trouble ahead.
A dogmatically radical stance
Lidové noviny wonders how it can be explained to the Austrians that nuclear energy is very well suited to achieving the ambitious climate targets:
“Yes, we understand the emphasis Austrians place on CO2 neutrality. We also understand the aversion to nuclear energy there. But when we draw up a list of priorities, preventing emissions must be at the top. Nuclear power contributes to this. ... Or is nuclear energy really such a devilish thing? The Austrians' radical rejection has a whiff of religious dogma to it.”
Only over Austria's dead body
The conflict between the Central Eastern Europeans and Austria over nuclear energy will intensify, Sme believes:
“With the Greens as his coalition partners, Kurz won't make any concessions regarding the right of each EU member to determine its own energy mix. This means that only over Austria's dead body will the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary receive European funds for climate neutrality achieved via nuclear power. The conclusion of the heads of government from Prague and Bratislava, Babiš and Pellegrini, that differences regarding the perception of nuclear energy would not hinder the development of stronger ties between Austria and the Visegrád states is therefore more than questionable. There is a major contradiction between the summit's propaganda goal of demonstrating unity and the reality of the near future. ”