Liberec, North Bohemia, Dec 16 (CTK) – The Czech Interior Ministry proposes that more than 72 hectares of land in the Liberec Region be ceded to Poland within settlement of a land debt, but the region as well as the municipalities concerned are categorically opposed to it, Martin Puta (STAN) said on Wednesday.
Similarly, a cession of land to Poland was rejected by the east Bohemian town of Kraliky later on Wednesday.
Puta, Liberec Region governor, said the territory concerned includes ten, mainly forest, pieces of land in the cadaster of the town of Chrastava and the villages of Bulovka and Horni Rasnice.
Within the settlement of an almost 60 years old debt, Poland should get 368 hectares of land from the Czech Republic, one fifth of which is in the Liberec Region.
“People do not understand why any land should be returned after 60 years,” Puta said.
He said the past land swaps concerned mainly Moravia and that is why the territorial debt should now be solved there, too.
Puta said the proposed land that should go to Poland has never been part of it and that the price of the plots that the ministry wants to offer to Poland is lower than what the geometrical measurements and the moving of border signs would cost.
That is also why the state should negotiate with Poland about a financial settlement, Puta said.
Later on Wednesday, the town council in Kraliky almost unanimously rejected the ministry´s proposal that 12 hectares of land in its surroundings, mainly meadows managed by local farmers, be ceded to Poland.
The plots in question are important from the point of view of environment protection as well as water management, the town assembly stated.
The Pardubice Region, of which Kraliky is a part, plans to use the plots to establish a regional bio-corridor and bio-centre. Their cession to Poland would thwart the plan, the town said.
It would also endanger the local drinking water sources, a circumstance that even the ministry may assess as an obstacle to the cession, the town said.
If the cession of the land were forced on it, Kraliky might challenge the step in court, Kraliky Mayor Jana Ponocna told CTK.
Poland´s territorial claims arose in consequence of a dispute over the Tesin vicinity in northern Moravia in which former Czechoslovakia and Poland were locked after Austria-Hungary disintegrated in 1918. The two countries signed the relevant treaty in 1958. It definitively outlined the state border. The Czechoslovak-Polish border was straightened and shortened by 80 kilometres.
In 85 places, the land of Czech owners went to Poland and vice versa. Despite a territorial settlement, Poland counted that it lost 368 hectares of land and the dispute was renewed after the fall of the communist regime in 1989.
Czech governments have been trying to settle the territorial debt for more than 20 years. The Interior Ministry already chose pieces of land to be ceded to Poland, but it must be looking for new ones in connection with the return of land to churches according to the restitution law that took effect in 2013.
Some municipalities concerned want to turn to court.
On Thursday, representatives from the Interior Ministry and from the region and the municipalities concerned will meet in Chrastava.
Chrastava Mayor Michael Canov said the Interior Ministry is not defending Czech interests. He cited the international treaties of 1958 and 1992 saying that the course of the border agreement on territorial settlement, signed by the two former foreign ministers, Jiri Dienstbier and Krzysztof Skubiszewski, in 1992, served as a basis for settlement.
Canov said the agreement is invalid as it was not anchored in the Law Digest.