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The Hungarian government has received another warning around its “Fertő Shore Development” project, this time by the European Commission, Átlátszó reports. The commission has begun informal proceedings to check whether the government’s construction around Lake Fertő, a UNESCO World Heritage site, violates the laws of the European Union.

The Fertő Lake area is a World Heritage site because of its authenticity as a unique biosphere of both human and natural impacts harmonized for millions of years. As UNESCO’s website puts it, Lake Fertő has seen “stock raising and viticulture to an extent not found in other European lake areas.”

A Project Which Could Severely Damage the Environment

Now the Hungarian government is constructing a sports center, a hotel, an eco-center and eco-park, a marina, multiple restaurants and camping sights, and an 880 car parking lot on the only Hungarian beach of the lake.

UNESCO Calls on Hungarian Gov’t to Stop Lake Fertő Developments
UNESCO Calls on Hungarian Gov’t to Stop Lake Fertő Developments

The park’s Outstanding Universal Value status is at risk of being removed.Continue reading

Not only has the government received a letter from Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre Mechtild Rössler advising the immediate cancellation of the environmentally hazardous project, but the European Commission has launched an EU Pilot procedure to check the legality of the government’s actions.

A Formal Infringement Procedure May Begin

Átlátszó shared a letter it received from the European Commission, in which it confirms that it is in contact with Hungarian Authorities and may need to take further action.

We engaged the Authorities in the framework of an ongoing EU Pilot procedure, and requested formal position of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture regarding various aspects of the real estate project at the Fertő Lake.”

The EU Pilot is a mechanism which will allow for informal dialogue between the Commission and Hungary on whether the government is being non-compliant with EU law. If the developments on Lake Fertő constitute a violation, a formal infringement procedure may begin.

73 Civil Orgs Demand Protection for Lakes
73 Civil Orgs Demand Protection for Lakes

Seventy-three civil organisations have called on the government in a joint statement to ensure protection for Hungary’s Balaton, Velencei and Fertő lakes, as well as the Old Lake in Tata. The petition is aimed at preventing further construction, whether state-financed or private, in natural heritage areas, according to a statement the signatories sent to MTI […]Continue reading

There are already non-governmental organizations, such as the Large Lakes Coalition, protesting the 30-billion-forint (EUR 86 million) investment, and 12 thousand Hungarians and six thousand Austrians have signed online petitions to stop the state-owned development.

Featured photo illustration by Gábor Juhász/MTVA