Home Business Belgium files a complaint against a French project

Belgium files a complaint against a French project

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Belgium has lodged a complaint with the European Commission against a French offshore wind farm project on the edge of its territorial waters, the Belgian Ministry for the North Sea announced on Tuesday 26 April.

→ REREAD. Belgium does not want a French wind farm

This park of 46 wind turbines should see the light of day by 2027 about ten kilometers off Dunkirk (North). Belgium accuses the French authorities of having defined this construction zone in 2016 without any consultation, even though it is located on the border.

“Blocking of maritime routes”

The Belgian government opposes this construction, arguing that the land is located “in the airspace controlled by Belgium”. According to him, the birth of such a park would be “concerning” for the safety of traffic to and from the Koksijde military base.

Similarly, Belgium is concerned about a possible ” blocking historic sea routes between the UK and the port of Ostend”. If it remains unchanged, the project may finally complicate “possible rescue operations” in this area, it is argued on the Belgian side.

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In France too, this wind project with a capacity of 600 MW has raised a movement of opposition. The criticisms targeted in particular the threat to the modification of ecosystems and marine resources.

The Belgian ministry had proposed last June to move the park 5 km further out to sea, which “could solve almost all the objections raised by Belgium”. Faced with the French refusal, the Belgian State, the region of Flanders and the municipality of La Panne each filed a request before the administrative court of Lille (North) to obtain the cancellation of the project.

Mediation

A mediation operation was subsequently carried out by the European Commission, but the series of meetings between the two states did not yield any results, Belgian Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told the Belgian agency Belga on Tuesday. “During this process, we found that there was not enough will on the French side to take into account the rights of the inhabitants of the Belgian coast, the port of Ostend and other stakeholders. »

→ ANALYSIS. Wind power at sea, the French delay

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This complaint “is necessary to safeguard our rights (…) It is a pity that France does not want to respond to the outstretched hand from the Belgian side”he added.

Once seized, the Commission will have to issue a reasoned opinion within three months after hearing the arguments of the two Member States. If necessary, it may also refer to the European Court of Justice.

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