26 February 2009 Bulgaria and Romania have asked for another year’s extension of the deadline for the construction of the second bridge over the Danube, linking the town of Vidin and Calafat.

The new deadline, jointly proposed by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his Romanian counterpart Emil Boc to the President of the European Commission Manuel Barroso, is January 1, 2012.

The project, worth 236 million euro, is partly financed with 70 million euro, by funds from the Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession (ISPA) programme. If it is not completed by the deadline, those funds will be withdrawn and the Romanian and Bulgarian governments will have to pick up the tap if they want to complete the project.

“We hope that Barroso will take into account that we are new governments and we have no fault for the project’s delay,” Borisov told media today, adding that he expects a positive answer from the Commission.

The 1,971-metre bridge between Vidin and Calafat would be part of the Pan-European corridor IV and will feature two road lanes in each direction, an electric railway and a bicycle path.

The idea to construct a second bridge over the Danube seized the imagination of people on both sides of the border as early as the 1980s. In the 1990s, Bulgarians felt an even greater need for such a bridge, as the wars in former Yugoslavia cut off their way to Central and Western Europe.

The bridge’s construction has been a Bulgarian transport priority for over ten years, with symbolic first digs taking place every few years but numerous delays preventing the production of any concrete results.

Currently, Bulgaria and Romania are connected by a single bridge only: the Danube Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Friendship. Linking the cities of Ruse and Giurgiu respectively, the bridge was constructed in the 1950s.

In their recent meeting, the two prime ministers also discussed the lowering or scrapping the fee for crossing the Danube Bridge, which – according to Borisov, is currently the most expensive border in Europe. No details on the proposed decrease or when it might take place were given.

The remaining nine border crossing points between the two countries consist of seven ferries, including the Vidin-Calafat one, and two inland crossing points near the Black Sea. Despite the introduction of joint border control between Romania and Bulgaria since they joined the EU in January 2007, going across the river by ferry is usually also time-consuming and costly.

Bulgaria has also proposed to Romania that two additional bridges be built over the Danube – one linking the towns of Oryahovo and Bechet and another between Silistra and Călăraşi, which are currently border control points crossable by ferry.

The proposal is from a year ago, and Romania is expected to announce its decision now, Valentin Radomirski, the Bulgarian ambassador in Bucharest told media.

Read the article on Balkan Travelers

Bulgaria and Romania Ask for Extension on Second Danube Bridge Construction

26 February 2009 Bulgaria and Romania have asked for another year’s extension of the deadline for the construction of the second bridge over the Danube, linking the town of Vidin and Calafat.

The new deadline, jointly proposed by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his Romanian counterpart Emil Boc to the President of the European Commission Manuel Barroso, is January 1, 2012.

The project, worth 236 million euro, is partly financed with 70 million euro, by funds from the Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession (ISPA) programme. If it is not completed by the deadline, those funds will be withdrawn and the Romanian and Bulgarian governments will have to pick up the tap if they want to complete the project.

“We hope that Barroso will take into account that we are new governments and we have no fault for the project’s delay,” Borisov told media today, adding that he expects a positive answer from the Commission.

The 1,971-metre bridge between Vidin and Calafat would be part of the Pan-European corridor IV and will feature two road lanes in each direction, an electric railway and a bicycle path.

The idea to construct a second bridge over the Danube seized the imagination of people on both sides of the border as early as the 1980s. In the 1990s, Bulgarians felt an even greater need for such a bridge, as the wars in former Yugoslavia cut off their way to Central and Western Europe.

The bridge’s construction has been a Bulgarian transport priority for over ten years, with symbolic first digs taking place every few years but numerous delays preventing the production of any concrete results.

Currently, Bulgaria and Romania are connected by a single bridge only: the Danube Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Friendship. Linking the cities of Ruse and Giurgiu respectively, the bridge was constructed in the 1950s.

In their recent meeting, the two prime ministers also discussed the lowering or scrapping the fee for crossing the Danube Bridge, which – according to Borisov, is currently the most expensive border in Europe. No details on the proposed decrease or when it might take place were given.

The remaining nine border crossing points between the two countries consist of seven ferries, including the Vidin-Calafat one, and two inland crossing points near the Black Sea. Despite the introduction of joint border control between Romania and Bulgaria since they joined the EU in January 2007, going across the river by ferry is usually also time-consuming and costly.

Bulgaria has also proposed to Romania that two additional bridges be built over the Danube – one linking the towns of Oryahovo and Bechet and another between Silistra and Călăraşi, which are currently border control points crossable by ferry.

The proposal is from a year ago, and Romania is expected to announce its decision now, Valentin Radomirski, the Bulgarian ambassador in Bucharest told media.

Read the article on Balkan Travelers

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