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Commissioner Hahn to launch two projects of major importance for Romania and Bulgaria

(14 June 2013)

Commissioner Hahn to launch two projects of major importance for Romania and Bulgaria

Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn is in Romania and Bulgaria today launch two EU funded project of major importance for the region: The start of the constructions works on the Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physic (ELI-NP) research facility in Magurele by Bucharest and the opening of the Vidin-Calafat bridge between Romania and Bulgaria.

At the ELI-NP event, the Commissioner was accompanied by Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Romania's Education Minister Remus Pricopie and Minister-delegate for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Development Mihnea Costoiu Speaking from the ELI site in Magurele, Commissioner Hahn said: "ELI is hugely significant not just for Romania, but for all of Europe. It has the potential to attract researchers and students. This is about turning the brain-drain into brain circulation and attracting people down the path of a science career. It can also put Europe on the map of nuclear physics research using high-tech laser technology." He added: "Romania has already started developing key links between ELI-NP and academia, as well as promoting its commercial potential internationally."

ELI is a pan-European research facility that has been set up in three different EU-countries, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. The three countries cooperate for the benefit of scientific Research and Development community in whole Europe. The investment for the ELI-NP project is €356.2million, 83 % of which will be covered by the EU and 17 % by Romania.

Press release

Later today Commissioner Hahn will inaugurate together with Bulgarian President Plevneliev, Bulgarian Prime Minister Oresharski and Romanian Prime Minister Ponta the ‘New Europe bridge’, linking Bulgaria and Romania across the Danube river between Calafat and Vidin.

Commenting on the opening, the Commissioner said: "This bridge is a powerful symbol of EU Regional Policy connecting communities and creating vital business links. Today the New Europe Bridge is not just opening for traffic, but it is ushering in a whole range of opportunities for business and research on both sides of the water, and beyond." He added: "I am confident that the collaboration between Romania and Bulgaria - which we have helped foster through the Danube Strategy and which has made this project possible, will create the incentive for more connections, and will benefit both countries hugely."

Construction began on the Bridge project in 2007, but the plan was already under discussion nearly 15 years before. The EU Strategy for the Danube Region, with its unique cooperation method, combined with the intervention of Commissioner Hahn, pushed the project to completion. It is hoped that the new bridge will lead to the creation of further connections that will benefit not just the regions of Calafat and Vidin, but Europe in the wider sense. The recently named ‘New Europe Bridge’ has received €106 million in EU investment and is only the second bridge along the countries' 630 km border.

Press release

Commissioner Hahn inaugurates the construction works of the Extreme Light Infrastructure - Nuclear Physic project.

Commissioner Hahn inaugurates the 'New Europe bridge' between Romania and Bulgaria