France is planning the construction of an offshore wind farm composed of 46 turbines off the coast of Dunkirk, on the borders of Belgian territorial waters, for 2028.

While the farm has a maximum production capacity of 600 megawatts (MW), equivalent to the annual consumption of nearly one million people, its highest turbines should be 300 metres high.

Residents of coastal municipalities near the border fear the project will ruin the view, while the port of Ostend fears it will hinder shipping routes to and from the UK.

Belgium is still hoping for “a diplomatic solution” to the dispute with France over this project, Van Quickenborne said, Belgian news agency Belga reports.

Van Quickenborne reaffirmed Belgium’s position on the sidelines of the North Sea Summit that gathered leaders from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway and the UK, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.

If ongoing negotiations do not result in a resolution through diplomatic means, Belgium could go as far as bringing a case before the EU Court of Justice. Belgium already brought a case before the French Council of State and made its case known to the European Commission though little progress has so far been made.

“Moving the [Dunkirk wind] farm a little further away would solve all the problems,” Van Quickenborne added.

Asked about the wind farm debacle during the press conference that followed the Summit, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that “in planning offshore wind parks, [Belgium and France] need to talk”.

De Croo said he is “confident” an agreement that will be “satisfying for both countries” will be found as “intensive talks” about the project are currently being held.

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