The eternal Scheldt River Dispute
Again there is serious controversy between the Netherlands and Belgium, or rather the Region of Flanders, about one of the 4 Scheldt Treaties of 21 December 2005 regulating the execution of the development outline 2010 of the Scheldt Basin, of vital interest for the access to the Antwerp harbour.
The Dutch Council of State issued July 28 a provisional ruling against the dredging works on the grounds of regional environmental reasons. The citizens of the province of Zeeland are strongly opposed to the flooding of the Hedwige Polder, land once recovered from the sea. This flooding is required to compensate lost nature. Two Dutch commissions advised the flooding as the best solution.
Also the EU Commission is very critical about this Dutch approach. Member States are free in their management of European protected aereas. In this case the European Commission fears deterioration of nature.
Since centuries the Scheldt River has been a bone of discontent between the Netherlands and Belgium. Several treaties, 1648 (Muenster), 1815 (Vienna) and the Treaty of 1839 allready regulated free navigation and commerce on the Scheldt River. The 2005 treaties include an arbitration clause for disputes. The Flanders government, the competent authority, already threatened to start proceedings. They concluded that the Dutch government does not implement the Treaty at all.
Dutch government is again trying to find another solution, saving the polder and the environment.