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No agreement on dam, 10 years later

TEN years after the International Court of Justice issued a verdict on the failed Slovak-Hungarian twin dam project, Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros, an agreement is still not in sight.

TEN years after the International Court of Justice issued a verdict on the failed Slovak-Hungarian twin dam project, Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros, an agreement is still not in sight.

Budapest and Bratislava interpreted the verdict differently, the Hospodárske Noviny economic daily wrote.

“We are disenchanted and very disappointed that the Hungarian side refuses to look at different alternative solutions to the problem for the whole Bratislava-Budapest section [of the Danube],” said Gabriel Jenčík, the Slovak government proxy for the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros project.

He says Budapest is only willing to discuss the one solution that would benefit them alone: going ahead without the lower dam at Nagymaros. The Slovak side insists on constructing the dam at Nagymaros, because without it, the Gabčíkovo facility is like “a body without hands”, Jenčík said. Slovak water management experts see this to be the most beneficial option, from the economic and operational points of view.

The main source of the conflict is that the Hungarian side interprets the International Court ruling to mean that, although the intergovernmental agreement on the project is valid, Hungary is absolved of the duty to complete the waterworks according to the original plan, or any other lower dam on the Danube.

The Slovak Environment Ministry is preparing a complex document on the twin-dam project for cabinet. It is expected to be submitted in the first quarter of 2008.

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