One subject the Dutch PM refuses to discuss with the Flemish

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Prime Minister Mark Rutte is visiting his Flemish counterpart Kris Peeters on Monday, but there is one matter he does not want to discuss. It is the issues concerning the nature compensation for the dredging of the West Schelde river.

The Belgians rely on the river which runs through the south of the Netherlands before reaching the sea for access to the inland port of Antwerp.

The Belgians have been pushing for the Dutch to dredge the river for years, but European legislation stipulates that any nature destroyed in the process has to be compensated for. The reclaimed land of the Hegwig Polder was designated as a suitable location. The Dutch had agreed to flood the reclaimed land as compensation, but now they have backed down as a result of local protests and say they will find another way to replace the shallow water habitat.

An alternative plan could cost 35 million euros extra and the opposition fear costs will rise even further. The Dutch are expecting the Flemish authorities to help foot the bill.

However, Prime Minister Rutte says it is a matter for the Agricultural Deputy Minister Henk Bleker to discuss with the Flemish and the European Commission.

The prime minister will only be speaking to Prime Minister Peeters about future economic opportunities between the Netherlands and Flanders the northern part of Belgium.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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