David Cameron has delivered a snub to the Austrian Chancellor over his attempts to derail Britain’s first nuclear power station for 20 years.
Werner Faymann, the Austrian Chancellor, attempted to hand Mr Cameron a letter of protest shortly before a European summit in Brussels this week.
Mr Cameron, however, refused to accept it and told him to instead “respect Britain’s energy choices”.
In October the European Union approved a controversial £17.6 billion subsidy deal for Hinkley Point C, which is expected to provide 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity by 2023.
But Austria, which does not have nuclear power, claims that the plans for the new power station amount to “state aid” and is threatening to mount a legal challenge.
It is understood that the letter from Mr Faymann questioned suggestions that Austria’s challenge would damage its relationship with Britain.
According to a leaked memo, the Austrian deputy ambassador in London reportedly told his Government in Vienna that the UK will take “every opportunity” to damage the country if Vienna does not drop a legal challenge to the construction of the £24.5 billion plant.
A British official said: “The PM’s view is clear – it’s for each country to decide their own energy mix. That’s also the view spelt out in the EU treaties and the PM explained to Chancellor Faymann that he is not going to have other countries seeking to dictate what’s in Britain’s own energy interest.”
The UK is a signatory to a letter to European Commission vice President Maros Sefcovic, who oversees energy, along with other countries including France, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia underlining their view that nuclear power has an important role to play across the continent.
It points out “the EU’s future energy policy must fully reflect the right of member states to determine their own low carbon energy mix, as enshrined in the EU treaties and leave the option of nuclear power open”.
Source: The Telegraph