North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Boulevard Leopold III.
B-I. 110 Brüxelles – Belgique
Dear Secretary General!
The Civil Movement for the Mecsek Hill would like to inform you about the following:
Act XXVI. (2003) on National Regulation of Territory has recently been modified by the Hungarian Government and a bill has been submitted to the Parliament (T/5311) in which „high priority defense areas” have been identified. These are the township of the most populous Hungarian cities, such as Budapest, Pécs, Debrecen, Kecskemét, Szolnok, Békéscsaba, Telkibánya. In addition to these, almost the entire territory of the Bakony Hill has been included into this bill. A number of these areas are natural reserves and some of them belongs to the network of EU Natura 2000 as important reservations of protected species (e.g., birds).
The modification outlined by the Hungarian government contradicts European Union community law, and as such, it is in opposition to Act XXX (2004) declaring Hungary’s accession to the European Union (henceforward referred to as „contract on EU accession”). On the basis of Paragraph 53. of the contract on EU accession, new member states have to conform themselves to principles, laws and regulations declared in Paragraph 249. of the EU contract and in paragraph 161. of the Euratom Treaty.
According to paragraph 6.(4) of the 92/43/EEC Habitat Principle the interests of high priority Natura 2000 areas, to ensure advantageous positions of high priority species, can only be overruled by a high community priority such as the protection of safety, life and health. In such cases it must be proven that there are no other alternatives and the European Committee must give their opinion before the final decision. Defense interests in general do not belong to these issues. In this case the decision-makers did not even make an attempt to find other territories that are not natural reserves.
NATO entrusts the member states to their decisions on sites of military investments. The competencies of the given member states, however, are determined by prescriptions of the EU community law. Please inform the Hungarian Government that this bill to qualify Natura 2000 reserve areas as military territories is against NATO policy.
NATO as an organization would never be unnecessarily opposed to national and international movements for the protection of the natural environment. We are aware that to find the areas for military investments is the internal affair of the given member state. Unfortunately the Hungarian government always refers to NATO commitments in the debates as a kind of „final” argument when neglecting democratic rights of the Hungarian citizens. Consequently, citizens begin to question the use of these investments and NATO has become rather unpopular. Even some of the previous voters for NATO membership begin to question its use and necessity. In Pécs, these are the unfavorable results of the Tubes-affair, that is, the Hungarian government wants to force the establishment of a microwave military radar – breaking the laws of our country, neglecting the Aarhus Convention and defying 38700 citizens who voted against the radar.
On 30th March, 2008, the XVIII National Conference for Protecting the Environment (Pécs) has accepted the following principle and all the participant organizations issued a joint declaration:
“No military radar can be built either on Zengő, or on Tubes – or in any natural preserve area in the Mecsek Hill.”
If the above bill will be accepted by the Hungarian Parliament we will be forced to apply to European Union legal bodies so that they could take proper measures against the violation of community law.
We still hope that the problem can be solved in a different way.
Dr. Vicze Csilla
Civil Movement for the Mecsek Hill
Pécs, 5th May, 2008.