Bulgaria, Romania Join Forces to Make Danube Truly Navigable

Business | May 31, 2012, Thursday // 17:03|  views

Only 10% of the navigation capacity of the Danube are utilized in the river's Bulgarian-Romanian section. Photo by BGNES

Authorities and experts from Bulgaria and Romania have agreed to work together in order to improve dramatically the navigability of the Danube River in their joint section.

Delegations of Bulgaria and Romania met Thursday in Bulgaria's Danube city of Ruse, and decided to seek together EU funding to give Danube shipping and navigation a boost.

"Our goals first are to be able to purchase an icebreaker and dragging vessels in order to be able to maintain the navigability of the Bulgarian-Romanian section of the Danube during the entire year," explained Bulgaria's Deputy Transport Minister Kamen Kichev, as cited by BNR, apparently referring to the fact that the winter of 2011-2012 saw the Danube freeze completely between Bulgaria and Romania.

"Bulgaria and Romania are stating to the European Commission that we are ready to draft together a program to improve the navigation on the Danube. The end goal is to have no time periods when it is inaccessible for commercial navigation – not the winter, and not end August when the river's waters are very low. The EC is ready to help us. We will boost the Danube navigation infrastructure," Kichev added, making it clear that the governments of Bulgaria and Romania will seek to utilize funding from the Connecting Europe Facility of the Commission.

The Deputy Transport Minister explained also that only about 10% of the transport capacity of the Danube is utilized in the Bulgarian-Romanian section, while the land routes linking the two countries are overloaded.

The joint efforts of the two nations funded by the EU are now expected to improve the Danube navigation by 50%, Kichev stated, explaining that the Bulgarian-Romanian project entitled "Development of Pan-European Transport Corridor No. 7 – the Danube River" will focus on the next EU programming period – 2014-2020.

Cesare Berbabe from the Mobility and Transport GD at the European Commission is quoted as saying that the European Parliament is expected to approve the new funding facility, Connecting Europe, at the end of 2012 or at the beginning of 2013.

Bulgaria and Romania decided also to set up a inter-departmental commission for drafting and implementing projects under the EU Danube Region Strategy, and to sign a cooperation memorandum by September 2012 at the latest.

Thursday's meeting in Ruse also featured Bulgaria's Deputy Regional Development Minister and EU Danube Strategy coordinator Nikolina Nikolova and Romania's Danube Strategy coordinator Lucian Fatu, as well as Romania's State Secretary for Transport Valentin Preda.

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Tags: Romania, danube, navigation, navigable, Danube River, Connecting Europe Facility, EU funds, EU funding, EC, European Commission, EU, Danube Strategy, Kamen Kichev, Nikolina Nikolova, icebreaker, Ruse


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