Liberals want law change over Westerschelde

Liberal (VVD) MPs have called on the government to introduce emergency legislation in a bid to end the diplomatic confrontation with Belgium over the Westerschelde estuary.

‘If the minister does not do it, I will,’VVD MP Helma Neppérus told news agency ANP. ‘We have to stick to the rules and agreements.’
The two countries signed an agreement to deepen the estuary, which leads to the Belgian port Antwerp, in 2005. This would allow bigger ships to reach the port. The Flemish side of the operation has now been completed but the Dutch work has been delayed several times.
The Dutch council of state recently dismissed a licence for dredging work because of environmental considerations, leading to further delays. Flanders claims the problems are costing Antwerp port €70m in lost income a year.
Earlier this week, left-wing green MPs urged prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende to get involved. And last week, the Flemish regional government took the unusual step of summoning the Dutch ambassador in Belgium to a meeting to formally express its irritation at the delays.

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