Minister Žiga: Slovakia defends ban on water exports

SLOVAKIA will mount a thorough legal defence against a Polish firm's complaint about the ban since 2014 in the Slovak Constitution on water exports other than in consumer packaging and for humanitarian ends, Environment Minister Peter Žiga said after the cabinet session on February 3.

Economy Minister Peter ŽigaEconomy Minister Peter Žiga (Source: TASR)

The RTVS public TV and radio channels reported that the European Commission has initiated legal proceedings against the Slovak Republic in this respect over creating obstacles to the free movement of goods. “It’s a standard process that the Commission starts against any country concerning infringement. We will defend ourselves with all means,” said Žiga as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that he was not concerned about potential fines.

The minister pointed out that Legnave, the Polish company behind the lawsuit, has wanted to draw water from Slovakia to its homeland via a pipeline and package it in plastic bottles since 2011.

“We're not standing in their way,” Žiga said. “They could do the same thing on the Slovak side: create wealth, pay taxes and employ people. In this we would even support it... But to have someone drill on Slovak soil, export water through the pipeline abroad and there do with it whatever they please, that’s not happening.”

Minister believes that in the future other European countries will adopt similar legislation. “It’ll be a serious problem not only in Europe but across the world. Since we have some reserves and they’re not evenly distributed across Slovakia, we need to protect them for future generations,” Žiga opined.

“Water does not count as common goods, it is a strategic raw material which deserves to be protected in the Constitution,” minister summed up, as cited by the SITA newswire. 

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