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16.09.2008 17:41 - The case of the Ruse-Giurgiu bridge
Автор: nmladenov Категория: Политика   
Прочетен: 5271 Коментари: 6 Гласове:

I often ask people what Europe means for them in a single word. Some say ‘the euro’, others respond with ‘Brussels’ and quite a few are not interested.

And they remain uninterested because Europe, they say, doesn’t concern them, it doesn’t affect their lives. How wrong that last statement is. Even if many don’t realise it, the EU has a direct impact on our lives.

Europe means mobility, it means freedom to travel and do business. Never before have European citizens had such freedom to move across national borders. Never before have so many young people had the opportunity to study in other countries, learn different languages and acquaint themselves with different cultures. Never before have workers been able to search for employment across 27 countries in Europe.

The EU is the tool that makes all this possible. Member states need this integration for economic, social and political reasons; Europe needs it in order to be competitive on global markets. At the same time, our population is ageing.

The European economy needs a flexible and qualified workforce to meet the challenges of globalisation. This is an important priority for our future and that is why in September and October more than 500 events across 27 member states will focus on workers’ mobility.

People often cross EU borders to visit friends, drink coffee, go shopping or go on holiday. The Erasmus programme helps students gain experience in other countries. The roaming regulation helps Europeans telephone throughout the EU for almost the same price as they do at home. Europe has contributed a lot to improving the everyday life of European citizens, and the free movement of persons is one of its greatest successes.

But this has not been an easy task. The history and nature of European integration is marked by negotiations between the nations and peoples of Europe. Governments have sometimes resisted integration but at the end of the day – through compromise – integration has advanced and in an overwhelming number of cases it is in the interest of citizens.

Despite being recognised as one of the greatest EU achievements, mobility is still being impeded, willingly or accidentally, by various means. Let me give you a very vivid example from Bulgaria and Romania, the two newest member states. For the past year I have been fighting against the toll taxes on the Ruse-Giurgiu bridge, the only bridge that connects both countries across the Danube.

The river runs for more than 300km, yet there is only one bridge. Both governments insist on collecting toll taxes amounting to some €18 for cars and going up to as much as €100 for trucks and heavy vehicles. The tax is a direct impediment to citizens and SMEs from both countries. 

It’s ironic that the most expensive bridge to cross in the EU traverses its two poorest member states.

European law and the Eurovignette directive allow such taxes to be levied only if they are proportionate and cover infrastructural costs exclusively. This is not the case with the Ruse-Giurgiu bridge – less than 0.2 per cent of the tolls collected in 2007 were spent on maintaining the bridge itself. If the two governments want to implement EU law correctly and not breach it, they should fix the tax at €0.35, or even better, remove it!

The European commission and court of justice could play a role in pressing for the removal of this obstacle. Taking the case to Luxembourg is an option, but it will take a lot of time. Why should we make people suffer and restrain them from exercising the valuable EU achievement of mobility?

Bulgarian and Romanian citizens understand perfectly what the cause of this hindrance is. It is the reluctance to undertake the necessary steps to fully implement European law. For so many years now other bridges have been planned, but nothing has happened. Since there is no alternative route across the river, the only possible step is to remove the tolls as soon as possible.

This would benefit citizens directly and would also stimulate business, intercultural cooperation and social exchanges.

Mobility is a value. The EU is its foundation. It is the engine of European integration, and member states should promote it. National governments are responsible for implementing European best practice and citizens should hold them accountable for what has not been done in their interest.

The Danube bridge at Ruse-Giurgiu is such a case and I hope Bulgarian and Romanian citizens’ interests will soon be very well protected by the people whose job it is – their elected representatives.



1. анонимен - мн мило г-н Никчо
19.09.2008 17:22
Много "мило", че сте написали всичко на английски. Щеше да е по лесно на български. Все пак някои хора се крият докато четат постинги по време на работа! Засрамете се!
2. flyco - Русе-Гюргево
01.10.2008 11:15
Тук бъка от абсурди, най-различни, таксата за преминаването на моста не е нито най-големият, нито най-горещият от тях. Какво пък, като лична борба е достойна за уважение. Желая успех!
3. анонимен - за моста
20.10.2008 14:04
Браво Николай ! Това,което започна за отмяна на таксите е много хубаво.Не намалявай темпото , призовавай хората в Б-я и Р-я да те подкрепят и те ще го направят.Таксите са най голямата пречка за нормалните човешки и бизнес контакти.Ако не се премахнат таксите просто няма нужда от програма ФАР - трансгранично сътрудничество.
4. анонимен - In Bulgarian please!
21.10.2008 11:55
Господине, всички знаем, че владеете прекрасно английския език, но не забравяйте, че сте българин и това е български сайт! Имах възможността да Ви слушам на живо и забелязах, че произнасяте звука "Р" с английско произношение...Не смятам, че можете да се гордеете с това! Засрамете се!
5. анонимен - за дело
24.10.2008 16:20
Няма време за губене. Трябва да се заведе дело. Друг изход няма.
6. анонимен - Защо да се махнат съвсем?
14.01.2009 15:48
Ако таксите, дори и в размер на някакви центове, се премахнат изцяло, следва да се предложи и друго финансиране за поддръжката на моста. И още един въпрос, фериботът при Видин-Калафат не работи ли вече?

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Автор: nmladenov
Категория: Политика
Прочетен: 857035
Постинги: 87
Коментари: 633
Гласове: 1350
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