The Danube Day was marked on June 29 in 14 member-states of the International Commission for the Protection o the Danube. Besides 28 local events, the central celebration of the day of Europe’s most significant river has been organized on June 30 in Belgrade, on the island of Ada Huja. The report of Sandra Pekic.
European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, who has visited Serbia on the occasion of the Danube Day, has stated that he expects the new Serbian Government to give full support to the Danube Strategy and continue the hitherto efforts on that path. He told the press, on the boat Silver Star, sailing from Belgrade to the archaeological locality Viminacium, that the priority in realizing the goals of the Strategy is increasing the ratio of cargo transportation on rivers by 20% by 2020. Also, decreasing the risk of floods and improving the ecosystems with the revitalization of the green zones. As another goal, Hahn pointed to the creation of the Danube “brand” by 2015.
National coordinator for the Danube Strategy Milica Delevic has underlined that the key value is the fact that the EU has recognized in its strategy the capacity of Serbia. “It is very important for Serbia to be able and partake in the Danube Strategy, along with EU member states, and those who are still not in that group. By taking part in the Strategy, Serbia has gained big developmental potential, and primarily relating to the infrastructure, tourism, environmental protection and transport, as well as to deepen the cooperation with other countries of the Danube watershed”, emphasized Delevic.
Although, unfortunately, the Serbian Government is not earmarking enough money form the budget for the Danube Strategy, many projects have been initiated and will be continued in the fall, with the second Danube Dialog, she stated.
Head of the EU Delegation in Serbia Vincent Degert and Director of the Austrian Developmental Agency Brigit Opinger have signed the agreement that should provide 19.5 million euros for several projects in Serbia, under the auspices of the Danube Strategy. While specifying that 18.5 million euros have been provided from the European pre-access funds, and another million from the Austrian Agency, Degert has said that the agreement envisages six million to be aimed at the water-supply in Veliko Gradiste; three million for the projects in local communities in the Danube region; and also for the construction of the ring road and a tunnel around the Golubac fortress. “The river Danube is very important for the Austrians, but also for all the peoples who live along its watershed, because it connects them”, added Brigit Opinger. The realization of these projects should start in early July and be completed within 36 months.