Mobility and Transport

Inland waterways

Joint-statement by Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport and Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy on the Danube Ministerial Meeting on 3 December

Joint-statement by Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport and Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy on the Danube Ministerial Meeting on 3 December

04/12/2014

Joint-statement by Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport and Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy on the Danube Ministerial Meeting on 3 December

On the initiative of the Commission, the Transport Ministers of the riparian States of the Danube met in Brussels and agreed on Conclusions setting out a number of commitments to endorse the Master Plan for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the river and its tributaries.

Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport said: "The river Danube connects people, businesses, EU Member States and neighbouring countries. It is a gateway to connect the EU to the global markets.

The ongoing analysis of the Rhine-Danube TEN-T corridor confirms the many problems inland vessel operators are facing with respect to reliability of the fairway conditions when using the Danube waterway to transport goods. I am therefore particularly pleased to congratulate the transport ministers of the States bordering the Danube on the endorsement of the Master plan for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the river and its tributaries.

In accordance with this plan, next year, the signatories to the Belgrade Convention will put in place national actions and cross-border co-ordination procedures to respond to the challenges and re-establish optimal and safe navigation conditions. They will also ensure continuous communication on the fairway situation to monitor implementation and to report regularly.

Inland navigation has plenty of free capacity and is the most energy efficient mode of transport. Our aim is to take advantage of the full potential of the Danube navigation to support the growth of our industries and the creation of jobs in the region. I am looking forward to working with all partners to achieve this goal."

Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy commented: "This meeting renews the cooperation process in view of the improvement of navigation conditions on the Danube, which started in 2012, with the Declaration on effective waterway infrastructure maintenance on the Danube, and its navigable tributaries. It was the aim of Commissioners Hahn and Kallas to set up a strategic partnership for the Danube. Violeta and I, on our side, are determined to develop and reinforce this partnership. It is therefore, in the interest of all the riparian countries, to engage in close and wide cooperation.

The launching of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region was an important stepping stone for the consolidation of cooperation activities. Among others, this Strategy has already shown particularly good results in the field of Inland Waterway Transport.

You know, the European Commission recently undertook a study on the jobs potential of navigation on the Danube.

And there is good news: increased cargo transport on the river could bring more than 8,000 direct and indirect jobs to the Region. And improving conditions for cruise and leisure ships, could bring even more than that."

Economically viable transport services on the Danube and its navigable tributaries are highly dependent on stable and sufficient fairway conditions. Good navigation status can for a large part be achieved by targeted waterway maintenance activities. The Fairway Rehabilitation and Maintenance Master Plan, which was endorsed by the Danube Ministers of Transport Conclusions on 3rd December 2014, also finds broad support by the operators of Danube waterway transport services.

Note:
The Ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Conclusions. Serbia indicated it will join its signature to the conclusions at a later stage. Hungary did not yet sign the Conclusions but expressed a message of support and left open the perspective of joining the conclusions later.