Bulgaria, Romania to Set Up JV to Run New Danube Bridge

Business | December 21, 2011, Wednesday // 16:48|  views

The second Bulgaria-Romania bridge should be completed by the end of 2012. Photo by danubebridge2.co

Bulgaria's government has approved a draft agreement with Romania for the creation of a joint venture to operate the future "Danube Bridge 2", the second bridge to link the two Balkan states over the Danube river.

The Cabinet in Sofia has granted a mandate to Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski to negotiate the signing of the JV agreement with the Romanian side on the bridge linking Bulgaria's Vidin and Romania's Calafat, the government press service said.

Bulgaria and Romania will have 50/50 shares in the future joint venture that is to maintain Danube Bridge 2 and its adjacent infrastructure along the banks of the Danube.

Sofia and Bucharest are still to agree on the registration and central office of the future company as well as the dispute resolution procedure and the tax rules that it will abide by.

"The agreement for a joint Bulgarian-Romanian venture to manage the new bridge will provide for the necessary legal base and conditions for the efficient management of the international transport infrastructure and reduction of the investment return period," the Bulgarian Cabinet said.

It further stressed that the future Bulgarian-Romanian joint venture is supposed to be formed by the end of 2012, and to take over the Danube bridge, which is being built by Spanish construction company FCC, in 2013.

The construction of the Vidin-Calafat bridge was set to be completed by October 2010, but has been significantly delayed due to technical difficulties and claims by Spanish firm FCC.

The original push for the construction of a second Danube Bridge between Bulgaria and Romania came as a result of the NATO bombing of Milosevic's Yugoslavia in 1999.

After the campaign subsided, however, the procedures for the bridge dragged on. It was supposed to be ready by 2010 but land expropriation procedures and disputes between the Spanish firm FCC and the governments of Bulgaria and Romania obviously delayed the construction.

When finally completed, Danube Bridge 2 will be third ever bridge in the Bulgarian-Romanian section of the Danube in the past 2000 years.

In the 4th century Roman Emperor Constantine I the Great built the largest river bridge in ancient times, Constantine's Bridge on the Danube, which was 2.5 km long, 6 meters wide, and existed in 328 AD - ca. 355 AD.

The "next" bridge (today's Ruse-Giurgiu Bridge) on the Lower Danube, in the Bulgarian-Romanian section of the river was built only in 1954, about 1 600 years later, at the initiative of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

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Tags: Danube Bridge, Danube Bridge 2, Romania, FCC, construction, ISPA


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