Bulgaria and Romania plan to ask the European Commission to extend by one year the deadline for the utilisation of pre-accession funds for the construction of the second bridge over the Danube between the two countries, it emerged on February 26.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and his Romanian counterpart, Emil Boc, visited the construction site to inspect progress. Danube Bridge 2, between Vidin in Bulgaria and Calafat in Romania, was initially scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.
Numerous delays, caused by the geological conditions and Romanian authorities’ protracted procedures for granting approvals for access to land required for the project, have pushed the completion date to 2011.
The two heads of government said that they sent a joint request to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to extend the deadline for utilising the 70 million euro granted under the Ispa pre-accession aid programme to December 31 2011.
“I hope that Barroso will take into account that we are new governments and have no fault for the delay of the project. Our ambition is to use every last euro,” Bulgarian daily Dnevnik quoted Borissov as saying.
Funds allocated under Ispa in 2000/06 have to be used by the end of 2010.
According to Romanian media, however, the deadline extension request covered 100 million euro, to include funding allocated to Danube Bridge 2 and several other infrastructure projects in Romania.
“We are counting on a favourable answer from the EU because that would allow us to efficiently use the resources that the EU has made available,” Romanian news agency NewsIn quoted Boc as saying.
Other joint projects discussed by Borissov and Boc included the construction of two more bridges over the Danube and two hydro-power plants on the Danube River, suggested by Bulgaria. Romania’s offer was for a joint hydro-power plant in another location. Talks on the expert level were expected to continue, Dnevnik said.
On Bulgaria’s plans to build a second nuclear power station at Belene on the Danube River, Boc said: “Let the experts give their opinion and then we will make our political decision known.” The project has come under intense criticism from conservation groups, who have branded it unsafe for the environment.
The two prime ministers signed memorandums of understanding concerning the implementation of trans-border co-operation programmes, worth 260 million euro for the period 2007/13.
However, no progress was made on the issue of cancelling the fees paid by cars crossing the first bridge between the two countries over the Danube River, which links Rousse in Bulgaria to Giurgiu in Romania.

Read the article on Sofia Echo

Romania, Bulgaria to ask for EC extension on Danube Bridge 2 funds

Bulgaria and Romania plan to ask the European Commission to extend by one year the deadline for the utilisation of pre-accession funds for the construction of the second bridge over the Danube between the two countries, it emerged on February 26.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and his Romanian counterpart, Emil Boc, visited the construction site to inspect progress. Danube Bridge 2, between Vidin in Bulgaria and Calafat in Romania, was initially scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.
Numerous delays, caused by the geological conditions and Romanian authorities’ protracted procedures for granting approvals for access to land required for the project, have pushed the completion date to 2011.
The two heads of government said that they sent a joint request to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to extend the deadline for utilising the 70 million euro granted under the Ispa pre-accession aid programme to December 31 2011.
“I hope that Barroso will take into account that we are new governments and have no fault for the delay of the project. Our ambition is to use every last euro,” Bulgarian daily Dnevnik quoted Borissov as saying.
Funds allocated under Ispa in 2000/06 have to be used by the end of 2010.
According to Romanian media, however, the deadline extension request covered 100 million euro, to include funding allocated to Danube Bridge 2 and several other infrastructure projects in Romania.
“We are counting on a favourable answer from the EU because that would allow us to efficiently use the resources that the EU has made available,” Romanian news agency NewsIn quoted Boc as saying.
Other joint projects discussed by Borissov and Boc included the construction of two more bridges over the Danube and two hydro-power plants on the Danube River, suggested by Bulgaria. Romania’s offer was for a joint hydro-power plant in another location. Talks on the expert level were expected to continue, Dnevnik said.
On Bulgaria’s plans to build a second nuclear power station at Belene on the Danube River, Boc said: “Let the experts give their opinion and then we will make our political decision known.” The project has come under intense criticism from conservation groups, who have branded it unsafe for the environment.
The two prime ministers signed memorandums of understanding concerning the implementation of trans-border co-operation programmes, worth 260 million euro for the period 2007/13.
However, no progress was made on the issue of cancelling the fees paid by cars crossing the first bridge between the two countries over the Danube River, which links Rousse in Bulgaria to Giurgiu in Romania.

Read the article on Sofia Echo

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