Schussel criticises Freedom Party campaign

01-08-2001

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel has criticised a campaign by the far right Freedom Party to block Czech EU accession over the Temelin nuclear power plant. The Chancellor was particularly critical of Jorg Haider, the controversial former head of the Freedom Party, who is still the most powerful man in the party. Mr Haider has repeatedly threatened that Austria will block Czech EU membership if Temelin, which is just fifty kilometres from the Austrian border, is not shut down permanently. Mr Schussel said he was deeply disturbed by these threats, and said that Temelin could be observed more effectively within the EU than outside it.

On a separate note, the government of Upper Austria filed a lawsuit against CEZ, the utility company in charge of Temelin, in the regional court in Linz on Tuesday. The aim of the lawsuit, a spokesman said, was to force CEZ to implement specific safety measures at Temelin. According to an official at CEZ, the plant was built in line with Czech regulations, and the company is not afraid to go to court over the issue.