European Commission to ask Austria not to block Czech EU talks over Temelin

The European Commission has said it will try to persuade Austria to stop blocking the Czech Republic's European Union accession talks because of a dispute over the country's Temelin nuclear power plant, which Austria says is unsafe. The Commission's Director General for Enlargement, Eneko Landaburu, said on Thursday it would try to persuade Austria to accept its position on the energy chapter negotiations with Prague, during talks to be held in September. Relations between the Czech Republic and Austria have been strained since October, when Prague started up the Soviet-designed nuclear plant at Temelin, which lies just 60 km from the Austrian border. Until now, Austria has blocked talks on the energy chapter in the course of the Czech Republic's accession negotiations with the European Union, saying the plant does not comply with the EU's safety standards. The Czech government says the plant is safe.