Temelín threat to Czech EU accession lifted

Bilateral accord to implement safety, environmental, recommendations to become legally binding

A long-standing dispute between Austria and the Czech Republic over the latter's Temelín nuclear power plant has been resolved after the Czechs agreed to be legally bound to introduce a series of improvements. In return Austria said it would drop its threat to veto EU approval of the country's energy "chapter" in the EU accession negotiations, a move that would have prevented the republic entering the union.

The deal was reached by Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel and Czech premier MiloŇ° Zeman yesterday, at a meeting in Brussels brokered by EU enlargment commissioner Günther Verheugen. Prague appears to have come off better in the accord, with the political threat to commercial operation of the plant removed and the country's accession no longer endangered.

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