Bulgaria Relies on EU Funds for Two More Danube Bridges
Projects for two more bridges over the Danube River, linking Oryahovo-Bechet and Silistra-Kalarash, are likely to be funded by European Union funds under the Danube strategy, a Bulgarian minister has announced.
Bulgaria’s Regional Development Minister Rossen Plevneliev spoke at a two-day international conference on the EU strategy for the Danube Region in the city of Russe, which was also attended by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Bulgarian Economy, Energy and Tourism Minister Traicho Traikov.
At the moment, the only bridge on the 610km Danube section of the Bulgarian-Romanian border, links Russe in Bulgaria and Giurgiu in Romania by road and rail.
The 2km Danube bridge II, which is a key element of a European transport corridor connecting the German city of Dresden with Istanbul in Turkey, is designed to span over the river connecting Bulgaria's Vidin and Romania's Kalafat.
“In the Danube basin we have EUR 100 B for regional development. This money is not lying in a bank, but already bringing about many projects underway,” Commissioner Hahn said.
According to him a mere 3 to 6% of the transport capacity of the Danube River is used and the European Commission is seeking ways to sharply increase this indicator.
“Just as Europe is not a magic cure for its members' ills, simply creating a macro region here will not automatically solve our problems.... I want a Danube strategy that delivers results because it has found a new way of working to unlock new forms of co operation. The energy will come from you: the strategy can only provide the framework for your efforts,” Commisioner Hahn told the participants in the conference.
He pointed out that the Danube region already has a tradition of cooperation, but work has often been stymied by lack of funds or political will.
“Our task is to find a structure that overcomes such problems....We need not start from scratch. The Baltic Sea Strategy is pioneering ways of working at macro regional level. It is early days, but so far the model of governance that they are road-testing is working,” the Commissioner said.
In this regard he stressed the importance of establishing a structure that ensures ownership of those involved, without losing sight of European wide coherence and accountability.
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