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Concerns raised in Austria over #MMVF

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Austrian state television ORF has recently published an article describing manmade vitreous fibres (MMVF), also known as mineral wool, as being “as carcinogenic as asbestos’, unrecyclable and not even suitable for incineration, but instead piling up on landfill sites, writes Martin Banks.

The ORF article claims that, like asbestos, it is carcinogenic. The piece adds that the price for using these mineral fibres as insulation material is “even higher than expected”.

ORF describes how, in their view, it cannot be practically recycled, resulting in “mountains of mineral wool, packed in dustproof sacks, that end up in the landfill”.

ORF go on to describe how the Hasenöhrl company in St.Pantaleon-Erla near Enns operates one of these landfills. According to the television stations news website, if one was to stack the mineral wool that was delivered last year alone, it would be a five-meter-high hill the size of a football field.

Rudolf Faltinger from the Hasenöhrl company is quoted by ORF, saying: "Tell wool has been installed everywhere for the past 30-40 years. And with every renovation measure, this mineral wool is produced."

The ORF new website describes how decades-old mineral wool is carcinogenic like asbestos.

This means that it counts as hazardous waste, which has been packed and transported in its own dustproof bags in accordance with a 2017 law.

ORF also goes on to discuss the cost of disposing of the material, claiming it is three times as much as before. The article mentions that it cannot be burned because the mineral fibres would immediately move the filters of the waste incineration plants, leaving landfill as the only option.

A link to article is here: article 

EU Today has also published a report on the health risks of MMVF.

Austria

Commission approves modified Austrian liquidity assistance scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has found certain amendments to a previously approved Austrian liquidity assistance scheme to support Austrian enterprises affected by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with the State Aid Temporary Framework. The original scheme was approved on 8 April 2020 under case number SA.56840, and provides for temporary limited amounts of aid in the form of (i) direct grants, (ii) guarantees on loans and repayable advances, and (iii) guarantees on loans and subsidized interest rates on loans.

The aim of the original scheme was to enable enterprises affected by the coronavirus outbreak to cover their short-term liabilities, despite the current loss of revenues caused by the pandemic. Austria notified certain modifications to the original scheme, in particular: (i)micro or small enterprises can now benefit from the measure even if they were considered in difficulty on 31 December 2019, under certain conditions; and (ii)an increase of €4 billion in the total budget of the scheme, from €15bn to €19bn.

The Commission concluded that the scheme, as modified, remains necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules.

More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58640 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Austria

Commission approves €120 million Austrian scheme to support companies in #LowerAustria affected by #Coronavirus outbreak

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The Commission has approved a €120 million Austrian scheme to support companies in Lower Austria affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, public support will be provided in  the form of direct grants, guarantees and subordinated loans with subsidized interest rates. The measure is open to companies of all sizes active in all sectors, except the financial, agriculture, fishery and aquaculture sectors.

The aim of the measure is to facilitate access to external financing by the beneficiaries and to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages they are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) with respect to the direct grants, aid will not exceed €800 000 per company as provided by the Temporary Framework; and (ii) guarantees and subordinated loans under the measure fulfil the minimum levels for guarantee premiums and credit risk margins.

The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state and to fight the health crisis, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission has approved the measure under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58360 in the state aid public case register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Austria

#InvestmentPlan supports one of largest wind farms in Austria

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) and UniCredit Austria are investing €107.4 million to support the financing of one of Austria's largest wind farms. The entire wind farm will have a capacity of 143 MW and provide around 90,000 households with electricity produced from renewable sources. The project is expected to reach completion at the end of 2021.

The financing is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said: “Today the European Union confirms its commitment to supporting renewable energy in Austria and to helping the country to meet its decarbonization targets. This financing under the Investment Plan for Europe will lead to the construction of a 143 megawatt wind farm, which will bring clean energy to around 90,000 households in the state of Burgenland. Through projects like this, we will reach the goals of the European Green Deal and achieve climate neutrality by 2050”.

The projects and agreements approved for financing under the Investment Plan so far have mobilized around €524 billion in investment, of which around €84bn for energy-related projects. The press release is available here.

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