Bulgaria, Romania Put Off Key Danube Waterway Expansion
Bulgaria and Romania have agreed to delay a project for the expansion of the waterway of the Danube River until after 2014.
This has become clear from Thursday's announcement of the Bulgarian Transport Ministry on the reallocation of funds from the EU Operational Program Transport approved by the Bulgarian Committee for the Supervision of the program's implementation.
The Committee sitting was attended by Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski, Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova, European Commission representatives, and officials from local authorities, project beneficiaries, NGOs, and syndicates.
The Committee decided to transfer EUR 110 M from Priority Axis 4 for improvement for navigation to Priority Axis 3 for improvement of intermodality of passenger and freight transport.
The funds in question were supposed to be used to expand the Danube waterway in a problematic spot between the islands of Batin and Belene.
However, Bulgaria and Romania have signed a joint declaration deciding to put off the Danube navigation improvement project in question for the next programming period (2014-2020), while still continuing to work on preliminary surveys.
Thus, Romania is going to keep up exploration works funded under the EU pre-accession program ISPA, and Bulgaria is setting aside EUR 10 M from Operational Program Transport to prepare the Danube waterway project for the next programming period.
The commercial navigation of the Lower Danube in the Bulgarian-Romanian section has become extremely problematic in since August because of the very low levels of the river, devastating the freight flow and business along Bulgaria's Danube bank, which has brought to the fore the question about the expansion and maintenance of the navigation waterway.
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