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Czechs halt infrastructure projects as EU limits aid

INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS throughout the Czech Republic are to be shelved as no extra European Union (EU) cash is available to tackle the legacy of last week's floods.

European Commission president Romano Prodi confirmed that EU members, Germany and Austria are eligible for full funding in most areas.

But the Czech Republic, which is due to join the EU in 16 months, will receive no extra financial aid.

Head of the roads department of the Czech ministry of transport and communications, Frantisek Baroch said, 'Without EU emergency aid, this financial stranglehold threatens our extensive infrastructure development plans, including 5,000km of new express highway by 2010.'

EU accession funding worth £118M was allocated to the Czech Republic in 2000 to help the country meet EU membership criteria.

The remaining £37M, which has not already been set aside for specific projects, will now be allowed to be directed towards repairing the flood damage, Prodi confirmed.

The government is also hoping to raise further finance from the European Investment Bank.

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