Czech and Austrian presidents discuss Temelin

Austrian president Thomas Klestil telephoned president Vaclav Havel on Wednesday to express his concern over the safety of the South Bohemian nuclear power station in Temelin which is soon to be put into operation. Olga Szantova looks at the implications of Austrian concern.

Austria's criticism of the Temelin power station is nothing new, but the head of state expressing his concern has brought the level of discussion on Czech-Austrian relations onto a more general basis. There have been controversial issues in the past. Austrians have been critical of the post-World War II expulsion of German nationals from Czechoslovakia, and they are worried about the safety of the Temelin nuclear power plant which is situated very close to the Austrian border. I asked President Havel's spokesman, Ladislav Spacek, about the contents of the discussion between the two heads of state. Some Austrian politicians have been threatening that their country would attempt to block Czech membership of the European Union unless the Temelin project is either stopped or postponed until all safety standards have been checked. Does president Klestil's telephone call to his Czech counterpart have an impact on relations between the two countries?

Author: Olga Szantová
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