Preparations for the Danube – Odra – ⁠Labe canal will begin

Controversial project of the international water corridor has moved to another stage as the Government approved the preparation phase.

The Government has approved the preparation phase for the international water corridor connecting Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland. The ministry of Transport assumes that navigating the Odra River would facilitate regional industry's access to European and world markets. Additionaly, there would also be recreational cruises and tourist benefits. However, the project has many critics.

The section should start on the Odra River in the Ostrava part of Svinov and continue to the Polish border. Here it should connect to the Polish part leading to the town of Koźle. On the Czech side, the construction should include the reconstruction of seven roads and one railway bridge, as well as the construction of a port in Svinov.

According to the supporters, the project, which has long been promoted by President Miloš Zeman, would bring economic opportunities, at the same time help fading shipping industry in the Czech Republic and enable better water management.

Environmentalists, on the other hand, argue that the corridor would destroy the remnants of Central Europe's relatively natural ecosystems and would have a significant negative impact on the country's landscape and water regime. Among the biggest critics is the environmental organization Greenpeace which also commented the Governmental decision on Twitter, and Transparency International - its director, David Ondráčka, called it an economic crime.