Bulgarian, Romanian PMs to discuss Danube Bridge 2

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and his Romanian counterpart Emil Boc are scheduled to meet on February 12 2010 to reassess the future development of the Dunav Most 2 (Danube Bridge 2) construction project, Investor.bg said on February 9 2010.

Danube Bridge 2, which is set to link the Bulgarian northwestern town of Vidin with Romania’s Calafat, has been dogged by delays for years.

The two prime ministers are poised to evaluate the “development of the project and assess the possibilities for bilateral co-operation in other spheres,” the report says.

According to Investor, Boc said that he and Borissov had already discussed several areas of further bilateral co-operation, which would be discussed in meetings in Bucharest, Vidin and Sofia at a later stage.

The Vidin – Calafat bridge, however, is the prime reason for the meetings, Investor said.

Towards the end of 2009, Bulgaria and Romania jointly requested financial assistance from the European Union to build the bridge. Unofficial estimates are that about 70 million euro will be requested.

The project, which was approved by Bulgarian and Romania as far back as 2000, has been hampered by complications. Overall, it is estimated that the facility will cost about 226 million euro to complete.

In October 2009, it was reported that construction delays added up to no less than seven months, while the cost of construction was expected to increase by an additional 20 to 30 per cent in conjunction with the delays.

This was confirmed by deputy project manager Konstantin Zhiponov, who said that the facility was not going to be ready by the end of 2010 as originally scheduled. Instead, a more realistic and achievable target, he said, was June 2011.

At the time, permission from Romanian authorities for Spanish company FCC to start building on the Romanian shore had been delayed by nearly a year, moreover, Romanian authorities had failed to deal with the restitution of land and nationalisation of parcels within the designated time frame, which in turn had exacerbated the situation.

Zhinov said that Romanian authorities were originally supposed to grant permission for the construction in June 2008, but this did not happen until May 2009. Because of this, FCC have so far only initiated topographical surveys and preparations for construction.

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