UPDATE 1-Anti-nuclear Austria seeks allies against EU green investment rules
BERLIN/BRUSSELS, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Austria said on Monday it is seeking to enlist other European Union countries to oppose labelling investment in gas and nuclear power as "green".
Vienna on Friday filed a legal challenge against the EU's inclusion of the energy sources on a list of climate-friendly investments, spotlighting divisions that have hit the bloc during an energy crisis made worse by war in Ukraine.
Luxembourg has already voiced its support for Austria and others may follow, Austrian Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler told a news briefing, without naming the countries.
"I find it irresponsible and unreasonable," she said of the EU's decision, adding other countries could join "as supporting parties in the proceedings".
At issue is the EU's so-called taxonomy, a rulebook defining which investments can be labelled climate friendly and designed to guide investors towards green projects that will help achieve the bloc's climate-emissions targets.
A European Commission spokesperson said it had taken note of the action but would not comment on the substance of the case.
"The EU's Taxonomy is to a very large extent focused on renewable energies. Renewables will continue to be the focus for green investors and the creation of green financial products," the spokesperson said.
"We included gas and nuclear as transitional activities ... in a limited number of circumstances and under strict conditions."
Gewessler said it was wrong to label gas, a fossil fuel, as a green energy investment and it was damaging for the credibility of the rules. "Tying a green bow around polluting gas for electricity production is misleading."
She also said fears over the fate of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine underscored the risks.
Austrians widely oppose nuclear power and the country has never had an atomic plant. A project to build one in the 1960s fizzled out after protests and a referendum.
The European Commission in February proposed a law that would add gas and nuclear power plants to the EU rulebook, but it was delayed by more than a year amid intense lobbying.
By the time the law was finally approved by the European Parliament in July, it had exposed deep rifts over how to fight climate change.
Environmental campaigners including Greenpeace launched separate legal challenges against the European Commission over the rules, which they said violated the EU's own climate laws. (Reporting by Matthias Williams, Rachel More and Kate Abnett, Editing by Miranda Murray and Alexander Smith)