Transportation

Juncker stops Czech plans to build weir on the Elbe river

In a letter to Czech Prime Minister Babiš, the European Commission President rejected a plan by the Czech government addressing environmental problems surrounding a weir construction near the North Bohemian town of Děčín.

Jean-Claude Juncker has thwarted Czech plans to widen an important waterway on the river Elbe to improve its navigability. Czechia offered to compensate over the environmental impact of the planned weir construction, even abroad, but Juncker refused such a notion.

According to Juncker, it is not possible to transfer compensation for the negative impacts of the construction on the landscape to another EU Member State. "I would like to ask you to try to set up compensatory measures in the Czech Republic," Junker wrote in a letter. Because of that, a crucial part of the Elbe will stay closed for a substantial part of the year.

The Ministry of Transport is now discussing the next steps. The weir in Děčín would significantly increase the navigability of the Elbe, and shipowners have been calling for it for years. However, the Ministry of the Environment is against the weir as it would, among other things, constitute a barrier to fish migration.

Last year, the government conditioned the construction with compensatory measures for the possible destruction of nature, however, the Bohemian Switzerland National Park stated that the effects of the weir cannot be sufficiently compensated in the Czech Republic.

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