Liberec region refuses to cede land to Poland

Martina Machová
22. 5. 2008 9:45
Decades old dispute is still unresolved

Liberec - Commissioner of the Liberec region in north Bohemia, Petr Skokan of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) announced yesterday that he is determined to support the municipality of Kunratice na Frýdlantsku, which is supposed to give a part of its borderland to Poland.

Part of the forest that belongs to Kunratice is set to be returned to Poland within the framework of settling a 50-year-old territorial dispute.

"We don't agree with these border changes, the municipality would be significantly damaged by it," explained Skokan during at press conference on Wednesday.

Historic compensation

Poland bases its claim on a borders agreement that was made 50 years ago. In 1958, the Czechoslovak and Polish governments signed this treaty to settle a dispute over the Těšín region, in Silesia, which went all the way back to the 1920's.

Fifty years ago the countries exchanged 85 areas, with the border of Czechoslovakia losing 80 kilometers. However, Warsaw eventually realized that the agreement was not in its favor, since Poland lost 369 hectares in the process.

The dispute erupted again in 1989. Three years ago, Poland asked the Czech Republic for compensation of the land they lost in the original settlement.

The 43 hectars of land in Kunratice near Frýdlant is only one among many possible localities chosen to be handed over.

Problems: Pollution and dust getting closer

An Polish power plant and a brown coal strip mine Turowo are located on the other side of the current border.

"We are afraid that the territory will be used for the needs of the plant. We don't want waste accumulating near the municipality," said Skokan.

The power plant is already negatively affecting the environment near Kunratice. Waste is a source of dust that during rains turns into mud, flooding Czech borderlands.

Turowo is the largest single air polluter in the Liberec region.


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