Sustainable energy instead of nuclear power for the Danube and Black Sea regions
Spindelegger and Berlakovich for regional cooperation programmes in the interests of all
Vienna, 28 April 2011 – “Fukushima and Chernobyl demonstrate that we have to work with all our strength for a change in energy supply by phasing out nuclear energy in favour of sustainable renewable energy sources. Today’s meeting of the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy clearly shows that there are alternatives to the use of nuclear energy in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe,” stated Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger. “Regional cooperation programmes aimed at both the increased use of renewable energy and increased energy efficiency can bring tangible advantages for all partners. Vienna as the hub of an international energy network is well suited for the launch of regional cooperation programmes, such as the EU Danube Strategy,” said Spindelegger, referring to the numerous Vienna-based international organisations which have expertise in the field of energy, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Energy Community for South-Eastern Europe.
Minister of the Environment Niki Berlakovich stated that “nuclear and fossil fuels are yesterday’s energy sources. The future of the energy sector must be sustainable, efficient and based on renewable energy. We are facing a global challenge which has to be solved locally, but also with the support of cooperation programmes. Austria is spearheading this development in many areas. Using renewable energy, our country can manage to become self-sufficient in the energy sector by 2050. Even today, Austria has internationally outstanding know-how in the field of environmental technology and can point to a number of model regions. Cooperation programmes with other countries will therefore also be beneficial to the domestic economy – in the form of new jobs and economic recovery. Through streamlined cooperation, cross-border partnerships lead to higher energy saving effects for all those concerned. Moreover, successful implementation can be achieved more quickly through an intensive exchange of experience in the field of technology. We must do more to exploit these opportunities jointly and help Eastern European countries make the shift away from nuclear energy.”
Austria was prepared to support the countries of the region in establishing closer ties with the European Union. According to the two Ministers, “improved energy efficiency has great potential. For instance, Austrian companies who specialise in low energy houses can provide important incentives to act as major stimuli in the region.”
The Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE, www.gfse.at) was founded in 1999 by the Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Environment and Water Management. It serves as a platform for the exchange of opinions in the energy sector within the framework of sustainable development in order to launch international cooperation projects. The regional conference entitled Energy between Danube and Caucasus was prepared by the Austrian Energy Agency at the instigation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and supported by the Austrian Economic Chamber and the Austrian Development Agency. It is also planned to use the Forum as a networking tool for Austrian companies and decision-makers from the regions concerned. The results of the meeting will also be taken into account by the regional meeting of the World Economic Forum on Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which will be hosted by Austria at the beginning of June.
Contact for enquiries:
Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister
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Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Environment and Water Management
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