Deputy Prime Minister Karadjov and EU Commissioner Ferreira discuss the possibility of building a highway from Western Europe to Athens via the Danube Bridge near Vidin

Deputy Prime Minister Karadjov and EU Commissioner Ferreira discuss the possibility of building a highway from

09 Jun 2022 | 19:07

The construction of a completely new highway to connect Western Europe with Athens via Danube Bridge 2 was discussed in Vidin by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Grozdan Karadjov, EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira and the Mayor of the municipality, Dr. Tsvetan Tsenkov. For the implementation of the project, which will significantly facilitate transit traffic and boost the development of the economy of the three countries, it is necessary to build about 200 km of sections in Romania and about 200 km in Bulgaria, including drilling a tunnel under Petrohan and completion of the missing section of the Struma Motorway in the Kresna Gorge. Minister Karadjov pointed out that this will be the most direct route to the ports of the White Sea, as well as an important transport corridor, which is already busy enough. According to him, Greece and Romania are interested in the project.

EU Commissioner Ferreira welcomed the idea and encouraged the three countries to work towards a joint project to seek funding. She announced that Bulgaria will receive over EUR 17 billion from the 2021-2027 EU regional development cohesion funds. “Many incentives for growth are set. I am glad that the government has decided to redirect some of the funds for the development of Northern and Northwestern Bulgaria,” Ferreira said. She noted that this is a record budget for our country, reminding that during the previous two periods, the country has received about EUR 15 billion. She called on the government and the local authorities, in addition to improving infrastructure, to set up projects to modernise education, innovation, high value-added economy and tourism, in order to attract young people to stay here and receive higher salaries. According to her, digitalisation and electronic services will make smaller settlements attractive for living. “Our efforts seek to develop the regions, to achieve balanced growth, not to develop only the capital and the big cities. That is why having good projects in this direction is very important,” Ferreira said.

Deputy Prime Minister Grozdan Karadjov said that under the Regional Development Programme, BGN 600 million have been earmarked for the North-Western region. "Each district will be able to apply for funds, and the region with the best projects will receive the largest part of them," he said. The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that Vidin has a huge potential for tourism development due to its rich history, culture and traditions. According to him, the availability of better roads and a high-speed train will significantly change the appearance of the region and its prospects.

The Commissioner, Minister Karadjov and Deputy Minister Deliana Ivanova visited the main pedestrian street of the city and the oldest school, “Tsar Simeon the Great”, which have been completely renovated and modernised with funds under the Operational Programme “Regions in Growth” 2014-2020. The group also visited the medieval fortress “Baba Vida”, as well as the wastewater treatment plant, built with EU funds under the Operational Programme “Environment” 2014-2020.