Building Bridges: The Danube Connection in Bulgarian-Romanian Relations

(source: Pixabay, CC0)

History of the efforts of Bulgaria and Romania for transport interconnection over the river

Aneta Mihaylova

Institute of Balkan Studies with Center for Thracology – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

An earlier version of this article was presented at the joint Bulgarian-Romanian historical commission, whose secretary from the Bulgarian side is the author. The text was given exclusively to the blog “The Bridge of Friendship” and will become a part of a digital book on Bulgarian-Romanian political relations from 1878 until today. 

The idea of ​​building a bridge over the Danube, connecting Bulgaria and Romania has a long history and, although with varying intensity, it has been permanently present in the bilateral relations from the end of the 19th to the present day. If we are not to go so much back to the time of Constantine the Great, when the first bridge over the Danube connecting the people on both sides of the river, but focus on more modern times, the issue was raised during the time of Ottoman rule and after the Crimean War (1853-56) it became an integral part of the diplomacy and politics in the Balkans and a number of European countries. The construction of a bridge over the Danube was associated with the first plans for railway construction in the Ottoman Empire and the implementation of a land connection between Western and Central Europe to the Balkan Peninsula with access to the Aegean Sea. In 1881, only three years after the Liberation of Bulgaria, the first contacts were established between the Bulgarian principality and Romania, where the possibility of building a bridge over the Danube was discussed. Since then, this issue has become one of the constant topics in the relations between the two neighboring countries, but it has turned out to be very difficult to solve and it takes more than seven decades for this idea to be realized in practice. Another six decades were to pass before a second bridge was built over the Danube, connecting the Bulgarian and Romanian riverbanks. Negotiations for the construction of new bridges between the two countries continue to this day, and the prospects for success are not very clear.

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Ion Lixandru: The time has come for a large-scale Bulgarian-Romanian cooperation in infrastructure

Can Romania and Bulgaria cooperate in infrastructure development? (photo: Wikipedia)

The coordinator for Infrastructure and Transport at the Coalition for Romania’s Development has come out publicly with proposals for joint action between Romania and Bulgaria and infrastructure, which he outlines in this interview for “The Bridge of Friendship” blog

Vladimir Mitev

Ion Lixandru was born in Bucharest 61 years ago. He has graduated from the High School of Transport. He was a worker at the construction of the channel Danube – Black Sea in 1977 for three months. He comes from the family of heavy truck drivers (for internal and international transport).

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Eleonora Ivanova: There are cheap and effective ways for countering the heavy traffic between Bulgaria and Romania

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(photo: The Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

The executive director of the Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry gave this interview in April 2019 for the Bulgarian television Bloomberg Bulgaria, speaking about the third bridge over the Danube at Svishtov-Zimnicea, about the need for better cross-border connectivity and the successful business cooperation between Bulgaria and Romania

The decision for the construction of the third bridge over the Danube between Bulgaria and Romania at Svishtov-Zimnicea was taken without discussions with the business organisations, which develop the relations between the two countries, such as the Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and industry. This is what the executive director of the chamber Eleonora Ivanova said in an interview for the Bloomberg Bulgaria TV, which is now given to the blog “The Bridge of Friendship”. Furthermore, BRCCI has fighted for the last two years in order to encourage the usage of cheap and effective possibilities for lowering of the traffic at the bridge between Rousse and Giurgiu, through the introduction of a ferryboat. Each bridge over the Danube would contribute to interconnectivity between the two countries, but the need for a new bridge at Rousse-Giurgiu remains dire, says Eleonora Ivanova. That is why when such decisions are taken, they have to be based on the current data and on the experts’ advice.

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Dessislava Pencheva: The ship navigation business fights for unified rules for transport along the Danube

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Dessislava Pencheva (photo: Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

An interview with the expert of the Bulgarian-Romanian chamber of commerce and industry on the results of the project DANTE and on the need for easing of ship navigation on the great European river

Vladimir Mitev

Dessislva Pencheva is the administrative manager of the project ”DANTE – improving the administrative procedures and processes related to the Danube waterway transport“. Dessislava Pencheva is part of the team of the Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for around 16 years since its foundation. She speaks Romanian, English and Russian language. She has graduated from the Academy of Economy in Svishtov.

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The regional cooperation in Southeastern Europe – nothing, but out of sincerity

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The Serbian president Alexander Vucic, the Romanian PM Viorica Dancila, the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov (photo: YouTube, Romanian government)

The quadrilateral meeting of Romania, Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria in the Romanian resort Snagov and the Romanian-Bulgarian intergovernmental meeting in Bucharest in the end of March 2019 show that the euroatlantic solidarity in the region is slightly forced. Is it possible to have a cooperation, which comes from within?

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 31 March 2019 on the Bulgarian section of the site ”The Barricade”. 

The Bulgarian government with the prime minister Boyko Borissov at its front returned from Bucharest with modest diplomatic achievements. The joint session with the Romanian government led to the signing of one agreement – on cooperation in the domain of extraordinary situations, and two memorandums of understanding – on small and medium enterprises and on easing of ship navigation on the river Danube.

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The Rousse Summer Free Tour is back in action

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The garden at the center of Rousse is a beautiful place for walk and talk (photo: Rousse Summer Free Tour)

Every Saturday evening the tourist guides offer a walk along the most interesting and beautiful places in the city in an attempt to promote its history and heritage

Starting with 2016 Rousse has its own free tour of the center – The Rousse Summer Free Tour. It will be restarted on 6 May 2017. The organizers of the tour want to bring about the city’s promotion as a tourist destination for travellers, for guests of Rousse from other parts of the country and the world, and to unveil curious historical facts before its own citizens.

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