When Bulgaria Finally Becomes a Danube Nation...
First of all, its economy will improve enormously. Second, well, it will really become more European in spirit and society.
That is right, today's Bulgaria is not a Danube nation even though it has one of the longest sections of the great European river.
Bulgaria does not perceive itself as a Danube country; Bulgaria lacks the necessary Danube bridges; Bulgaria's Danube ports remain underdeveloped; Bulgaria has no major roads connecting its mainland interior to the river ports, and has only two outdated railways doing that; Bulgaria has not really developed a single north-south transport corridor, i.e. from the Danube into Greece and Turkey; Bulgaria has not even thought of building sailing and irrigation canals through its northern plains for the same purpose, not to mention to actually consider the project for a Black Sea-Danube canal which seems doomed to remain in the realm of science fiction writers indefinitely.
It is nice that projects for two massive hydro-power dams between Bulgaria and Romania – that potentially can also be turned into bridges – at Nikopol-Turnu Magurele and Silistra-Calarasi – were mentioned during a meeting of the two countries' economy ministers on Monday. But this whiff of hope for the dilapidated northern Bulgarian regions is only that – a whiff.
Yet, I keep thinking that Northern Bulgaria won't just remain the poorest and one of the most depopulated places in the EU but will actually be doing worse and worse unless Bulgaria finally becomes a Danube nation.
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