Agreement reached on Princess Elisabeth polar base
Ending a two-year conflict, the federal government has reached an agreement with Belgium’s International Polar Foundation on the management of the research based in Antarctica
Research team to arrive in autumn
In 2015, then science policy secretary Elke Sleurs removed IPF from the policy council that manages the base, because of what she saw as a conflict of interest. The situation escalated, with Hubert – a polar explorer and IPF founder – accused of removing equipment from the base and a legal battle that made management of the site impossible.
According to the new agreement, IPF will manage the base for six years, which could then be extended for an additional three years. Following the six – or possibly nine – year period, the management of the base will be bid by public tender, always for a period of three years.
The federal government will become the full owner of the base. Until now, IPF possessed 1/1000th of the shares on the base, which it will now hand over to the government.
IPF will receive a settlement of €4.5 million, which also covers unpaid invoices and the ownership of some portable equipment. Previously, all the equipment at the base was owned by Hubert.
Because of the ongoing conflict, there was no research mission to the base last year. A team of researchers will now, however, head to the base in November.
Photo: René Robert/IPF
Princess Elisabeth station in Antarctica
station wind turbines
station altitude in meters
location from the coast in kilometres