European Commission could accept extension of Calafat-Vidin bridge fund accessing

The European Commission could agree to extending the deadline set for accessing the funds for building the Calafat¬Vidin bridge over the Danube River, with positive signals having been sent to this effect, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi told a joint news conference with his Bulgarian counterpart on Friday.

‘I think the extension of accessing the funds for the Calafat-Vidin bridge will be obtained. We have already received positive signals from the European Commission. We are waiting for a decision, of course, but the important thing is that we finalise the bridge, not reproach each other over the causes for the project delay’, Baconschi stressed.

He said the Romanian and Bulgarian Prime Ministers Emil Boc and Boiko Borisov respectively had proposed that other bridges be built too, besides the existing one at Giurgiu-Ruse (built in the 1950s) and underscored there are the prerequisites to complete the linkage of the Romanian and Bulgarian road infrastructures.
Boc and Borisov, in a common declaration signed in Sofia on Friday, asked the European Commission to extend by Dec. 31, 2012 the deadline for the eligibility of the expenditure for all the projects of Romania and Bulgaria approved for 2000-2006.

The Bulgarian premier said that if the European Union executive approves a request by Bulgaria and Romania to extend the financing memorandum for the Calafat-Vidin bridge project, then the bridge will be come reality, but he warned that if it does not accept this, there will be no bridge, because there is no money from the budget to fund it.

The total amount needed to build the Calafat-Vidin bridge is put at more than 225 million euros, of which 70 million euros is provided under the ISPA programme, a Cohesion Fund grant, another 70 million is given by the European Investment Bank as a loan; the Bulgarian state budget provides 60 million euros, German development bank Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau KfW gives 2 million euros in aid and another 18 million euros in loan and the French Agency for Development gives 5 million euros in aid.
Financing of the access from the Romanian Danube bank is provided by the European Union under the ISPA programme, namely 34 million euros and from the Romanian state budget – 33 million euros. The bridge will be 2-kilometre long, four-lane road, it will have a railway line, two sidewalks and a track for bicycle riders.

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