An economic and ecological dispute within the European Union, between Flanders and the Netherlands

The Westerschelde estuary lies at the border between Belgium and the Netherlands; thus, it has been for several years the scene of a conflict involving economic interests, efforts to prevent the risks of flooding associated with climate change and environmental concerns. A treaty signed by both countries in 2005 foresaw that the Westerschelde be dredged to facilitate access to the port of Antwerp and that the Dutch de-polder the Duchess Hedwig polder for environmental purposes. Yet these policies are poorly accepted in the Netherlands because local populations are worried that de-poldering increase the risk of flooding, and because Rotterdam takes a dim view of developing the port of Antwerp, its long-standing rival.