On Tuesday 2 October 2012 the European Parliament in Brussels hosted an international conference devoted to the transport corridor ‘Via Carpathia’, which links seven EU countries (Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece). The conference was organized and moderated by ECR group MEP Tomasz Poreba.
The aim of the conference was to spread the word within the European Union of the Via Carpathia as the most important transport route in the eastern regions of the EU. The longest stretch of the S19 Via Carpathia route passes through Poland.
The conference on the future of the Via Carpathia was attended by Ministers, MPs, senators, and representatives of regional government, international experts, TEN-T experts from the European Commission, ambassadors and members of the National Parliaments and the European Parliament.
The idea behind establishing the Via Carpathia route was launched by Poland in 2006. Under the auspices and in the presence of the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński, the transport ministers from Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary signed a first joint declaration entitled the Łańcut Declaration on the extension of the TEN-T network by the “Via Carpathia”. In 2010 an additional three countries, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, joined this initiative. On 22 October 2010, during an international conference in Łańcut, transport ministers from seven European countries connected by this route signed a new joint Declaration committing themselves to include the entire length of the above-mentioned road corridor (Klaipeda-Kaunas–Białystok–Lublin–Rzeszów–Košice – Miskolc – Debrecen – Oradea – Lugoj – Calafat/Constanta – Sofija/Svilengrad – Thessaloniki) in the TEN-T network.
Currently, Via Carpathia is divided into separate sections, threatening the integrity of the route as a whole. On 27 November, the transport committee in the European Parliament will put to the vote a proposal by Tomasz Poreba MEP to amend the regulation to include the entire route of Via Carpathia in the core network of TEN-T.
“The Via Carpathia project was met with great enthusiasm. Cohesion policy extended by an infrastructure dimension will strengthen and stimulate the equal development of regions. The access to transport networks must become versatile. Much now depends on the individual Member States and regions, which have to prove that they can reliably apply for and reliably spend the money acquired under the funds.”- said Jean-Éric Paquet Director in the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission.
“Today is another step forward in the fight to include the so-called Via Carpathia route into the core TEN-T network, which in turn would guarantee both the development of the trail and its modernization. Via Carpathia would be an undeniable factor and a driving force for prosperity of tourism and economic development in the region. The commission proposed that the Via Carpathia, divided into sections, should instead be treated as a whole, as a single route connecting the eastern EU countries. I am glad to see a positive attitude from the commission in giving its time to strengthen and encourage this initiative” – said Law and Justice Member of the European Parliament Tomasz Poreba.
Septimiu Buzasu, Secretary of State for Transport and Infrastructure of Romania said that “by signing the Łańcut Declaration in 2010, Romania has committed itself to the achievement of its objectives. This is not just any route; it is a route that is designed to ensure economic development.”
According to Marek Kuchciński, Deputy Speaker of the Polish Sejm, “The Carpathian region needs support as its communications are poorly organized. This transport route is of particular importance for the EU and should be also seen as an initiative to further the development of the Eastern Partnership, which is still insufficiently supported. Our governments and national parliaments should support our declaration because it is an element of European solidarity. ”
John Hudacký Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs of the Slovak National Council in his presentation emphasized the role of expressways in the process of economic growth and development of tourism in regions that will be crossed by Via Carpathia. He added that the expansion of the expressway in Slovakia clearly affected the reduction of unemployment in the region.
Senator Władysław Ortyl and MP Stanislaw Ożóg both stressed that the inclusion of Via Carpathia into the core of the TEN-T network has an important security and strategic interest for the whole of Europe. In addition, they pointed out that the expressway Via Carpahtia fits perfectly in line with the policy of equal opportunities in the framework of EU cohesion policy, which is why efforts have to be stepped up at national levels.
The conference was also attended by, among others, Alexander Micovcin Deputy Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the EU, Vladislav Stoikov the President of Kyustendil Region, Mircea Ioan Molot the President of Hunedoara County Council, Lucjan Kuźnia, Member of the Board of Podkarpacie Region, Walenty Korycki vice Marshal of the Podlaskie Voivodeship, Marian Constantin Vasile vice-president of Timis County Council, Andrzej Wyczawski Mayor of the City of Jarosław, Loreta Navakauskienė Adviser to the Mayor of Kaunas district Valerijus Makūnas, Natalia Tarasovova, Head of Office Presov region in Brussels, Marek Ustrobinski Deputy President of the City of Rzeszów
by experts and ambassadors:
Dawid Lasek Vice President of the Association of the Carpthian Euroregion, Adrian Mazur – Ministry of Transport, Construction and Marine Economy, Poland, H.E. Artur Harazim, Ambassador of Poland to the Kingdom of Belgium, H.E. Tamás Iván Kovacs, Ambassador of Hungary , H.E. Vesselin Valkanov, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria, Alexander Micovcin, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the EU.
The European Commission was represented by Jean-Eric Paquet, Director of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport.
The conference participants adopted by acclamation the “Brussels Declaration on the Via Carpathia.”
The full text of the declaration is here.
Conference photo gallery is here.
Mateusz Jan Kochanowski
Tel. +32 2 28 42894