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The opening conference to mark the beginning of the project on the reconstruction of the Baja-Bezdan Canal


The opening conference to mark the beginning of the implementation of “The complex water management development of the area of the Baja-Bezdan Canal – BABECA” strategic project, being co-financed by the European Union under the Interreg-IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Hungary-Serbia, was held at the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina on 6 December 2017.

The partnership in the project, with the overall amount of allocated funding exceeding EUR 8.5 million (EUR 8,699,537.91), of which the amount of the EU (IPA) contribution is almost EUR 7.5 million (EUR 7,394,607.21), consists of the Lower Danube Valley Water Directorate (Hungary), Public Water Management Company "Vode Vojvodine" Novi Sad (Serbia) and European Affairs Fund of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (Serbia).
The participants of the conference were greeted by Ognjen Bjelić, Provincial Secretary for Regional Development, Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-Government, who emphasized that out of the five approved projects under the strategic call of the Interreg IPA CBC Programme Hungary-Serbia, with total value EUR 28 million, this projects was the most valuable one, not only from the financial aspect, but also because it involved a most important field of water management improvement.
Steffen Hudolin, Head of Operations II, Delegation of the EU to Serbia, said that the conference was an example of good practice and an indicator that the spirit of cross-border cooperation aimed at good neighbourly relations could result in such a large project and withdrawal of funds from the European Union in the amount of almost EUR 7.5 million.
On behalf of the Ministry for European Integration, Mihajilo Dašić, Assistant Minister, addressed the audience of the conference, while the participating project partner institutions were represented by Róbert Telkes, Director of the Lower Danube Valley Water Directorate, Slavko Vrndžić, Director of the PWMC "Vode Vojvodine" Novi Sad, and Vidosava Enderić, Director of the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina.
The BABECA project was presented by Szilvia Hornyák, Project Manager, Lower Danube Valley Water Directorate, and Stevan Ilinčić, Project Coordinator, PWMC "Vode Vojvodine" Novi Sad.
The main objective of the project is to decrease flood and potential flood hazard of the territory of AP Vojvodina and Bács-Kiskun County by restoring the structures of the hydro-system of the Baja-Bezdan Canal area; and to improve the necessary conditions for other business activities, as well as the cross-border water management and risk prevention system.
During its implementation, the project will result in the construction of driftwood removal platforms and boat ramps at 3 localities in Hungary, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Bezdan and Sebesfok locks, dredging of 5600 m section of the Baja-Bezdan Canal in Hungary, and procurement of special equipment for maintenance in Hungary and Serbia.
The works in the strategic project will be accomplished in three years’ time. The planned works on the Bezdan lock, which is not in operation for more than a quarter of a century, will be aimed at its revitalisation as one of the key facilities of the Vrbas - Bezdan waterway and its significant role in protecting the Danube against high water levels.
The benefits of the project implementation will have a positive impact on the improvement of the living conditions of citizens, the local development of the environment, as well as the cross-border cooperation between Serbia and Hungary, which will be enjoyed by the inhabitants of the settlements through which the canal passes, economic stakeholders in the area covered by the project, employees in competent water management organizations, tourists, etc.
About the Programme
The Interreg-IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Hungary-Serbia is implemented within the 2014-2020 European Union financial framework, under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). On the basis of “shared management system" of the participating countries - Hungary and Serbia, the Programme funds and supports cooperation projects of organizations located in the Programme-eligible area – Hungarian counties Csongrád and Bács-Kiskun, and Serbian territories: West Bačka, North Bačka, South Bačka, North Banat, Central Banat, South Banat and Srem district.
The Programme helps the development of a stable and cooperating region and the overall quality of life in the border region. It enables economic collaboration of organizations from the two countries, nurtures the common identity, and cultural and historical heritage of the border region, and contributes to its environmental sustainability and safety.
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This project is co-financed by the European Union. The content of the press release is the sole responsibility of the Lower Danube Valley Water Directorate / PWMC “Vode Vojvodine” Novi Sad / European Affairs of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union and/or the Managing Authority.