Greenpeace to sue Hungary over Unesco protected lake construction project

The Environmental Protection Agency, Greenpeace is planning to sue the Hungarian government over a controversial development project it has put up for tender.

They claim that it threatens a lake recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lake Virtu, or Lake Neusiedl (as the Austrians know it) is the largest inland lake in Central Europe, straddling the Austro-Hungarian border.

Last December, Sopron-Fertő Tourism Development Nonprofit Ltd withdrew its original tender to build a yacht harbor and hotels on the lake. However, on Christmas Eve, a second call was issued by the government, for a larger development project.

New plans aim to build two hotels, a visitor center with a restaurant, and two giant swimming pools among other things.

The winning bidder will have 36 months to complete the project.

Greenpeace plans to sue the government, saying the second tender is more problematic than the first.

Greenpeace’s Katalin Ruddicks explains the reason for the legal challenge,

“Because the areas that were bid in public procurement for individual items, are larger than they were in the original environmental permit, we (Greenpeace) were a challenge, as well as having new items like a 26-apartment building that’s Not an environmental permit or a building permit at all.”

Hungarian and international organizations for nature conservation and heritage protection have consistently opposed construction projects on the site

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