SERBIA: Municipalities Need to be More Active in Proposing Danube Projects
31.03.2010 Politics | Serbia | Western Balkans
Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration and national coordinator of Serbia's cooperation with the EU in the Danube region Bozidar Djelic said today that of 24 municipalities in the Danube area only nine have submitted projects, although the financial construction of the Danube strategy will soon be closed.
Opening the conference “Danube strategy, ideas and projects”, Djelic pointed out that there is no justification for such inertia in these municipalities, especially bearing in mind that the proposed projects would be the sources of funding.
He said that so far projects have been proposed by the municipalities of Golubac, Veliko Gradiste, Backi Petrovac, Stara Pazova, Majdanpek, Negotin, Backa Palanka, Pozarevac and Sremski Karlovci.
The Deputy Prime Minister has invited companies to participate in this project and reiterated that the deadlines will soon run out.
This strategy could be adopted during Hungary’s EU presidency in the first half of 2011, he said.
The Danube is a great opportunity for Europe, and an even greater opportunity for our country, Djelic added.
The amount of goods transported on the Danube River is ten times smaller than on the Rhine, while the Danube is three times more polluted than the Rhine, said Djelic.
The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that one quarter of the Danube’s length runs through Serbia, passing through as many as 80 municipalities.
Serbia is faced with serious problems regarding the Danube River, including pollution and waste water, he said adding that the entire sewage of Belgrade is poured out into the Danube.
President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Milos Bugarin called upon businesspeople to come forward with projects, stressing that almost every economic sphere is affected – shipbuilding, tourism, agriculture, to name a few.
Bugarin added that every local self-government should help companies to acquire the necessary documents and licences in order to realise plans within the project.
The conference is being organised by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, with its aim being the promotion of cooperation with the EU in the preparation of a comprehensive Danube strategy.