Dutch take legal action against Flanders over scrapped cross-border tram project

The Dutch city of Maastricht and province of Limburg are taking Flanders to court, writes Het Belang van Limburg on Wednesday. The Dutch are demanding repayment of the 19.6 million euros they say they have already invested when Flanders pulled the plug on the Spartacus project, a planned cross-border tram link between the two countries.

In May 2022, Flemish minister of Mobility Lydia Peeters informed her Dutch counterparts that the international express tramway between the cities of Hasselt (Belgian Limburg) in Belgium and Maastricht (Dutch Limburg) was no longer an option. Since then, Flanders has opted for a bus service instead - to the displeasure of local authorities in the Netherlands, who say they have already invested 22.6 million euros in the abandoned tram project.

Of this amount, 3 million has so far been repaid, funded by money Flanders had previously received from the Netherlands as compensation because the Wilhelmina Bridge in Maastricht turned out not to be strong enough to support the tram. However, the Flemish government has so far refused to pay the remaining 19.6 million euros.

"So far, there has been no concrete proposal from Flanders. (...) Of course, we remain open to an amicable solution"

For some time now, the Netherlands has been threatening legal action to settle the dispute. "So far, there has been no concrete proposal from Flanders," say the Dutch-Limburg provincial government and the Maastricht city council. "That is why we are taking the matter to court. Of course, we remain open to an amicable solution".

Flemish Mobility minister Peeters, who only last month hinted that she was still hoping for a negotiated solution, told the Belga news agency that she had not yet received the summons. As soon as she does, "we will first consult with the lawyers," she said.




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