The closing conference marking the ending of the Baja-Bezdan Canal reconstruction project

The ending of “The complex water management development of the area of the Baja-Bezdan Canal – BABECA” project was marked by a conference held at the Bezdan lock.

The BABECA project – which has been implemented since 29 September 2017 – was implemented within the Interreg IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Hungary-Serbia.

The BABECA project – with a budget of EUR 8,699,537.91, of which the EU co-financing is EUR 7,294,607.21 – which is 85% of the total project value – is of strategic importance as a project on flood hazard prevention and water management. It has contributed to the improvement of the functioning of the Baja-Bezdan Canal. In Serbia, the Bezdan lock and Šebešfok lock and sluice have been reconstructed and rehabilitated, whereas in Hungary facilities for the extraction of driftwood and ramps for vessels have been built on three locations, and 5600 m long section of the Baja-Bezdan Canal has been dredged.

The project has been implemented with the aim of improving the system of cross-border water management, the efficiency of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and Bač-Kiskun County in flood defence, as well as the necessary conditions for other business activities.

The project partners – Public Water Management Company “Vode Vojvodine” Novi Sad in cooperation with the Lower Danube Valley Water Directorate of Baja and the European Affairs Fund of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina – has had extensive expertise in water management and flood hazard prevention.

“After some thirty years, a navigation link between the Great Bačka Canal and the Danube River via the Bezdan lock and a link between the Baja Canal and the Great Bačka Canal via the Šebešfok lock has been enabled. It is no less important to say that both locks are part of the operational scenario, so that they are on a section of common interest with Hungary and that we have practically improved flood defence by completing these works”, said Slavko Vrndžić, director of PWMC “Vode Vojvodine” Novi Sad at the event.

Ivana Đurica, Assistant Director of the European Affairs Fund of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, also addressed the audience, saying that solidarity is of special importance for flood risk management, which has been proven by excellent cooperation between Serbia and Hungary on the arrangement of the Baja-Bezdan Canal. “The cross-border cooperation between Hungary and Serbia is the example of best practice in using the EU funds available to us, while the BABECA project is the example of best practice in using the mutual potentials of both countries for general synergy and well-being, taking into account flood risk prevention, environmental goals and ensuring efficient and wise use of resources”.

The arrangement of the Baja-Bezdan Canal has multiple significance. Easier navigation has been enabled, flood hazard has been reduced and a better quality of life on both sides of the border has indirectly been enabled. The economy of the Lower Danube region in Hungary and the Upper Danube region in Serbia has been given momentum.
The works implemented in the project have a positive impact on the improvement of the living conditions of citizens, the local development of the environment, economic stakeholders in the area covered by the project, employees in competent water management organizations and tourists, as well as movement of people and goods between Hungary and Serbia and other countries.

The conference held to mark the successful implementation of the project was attended by Smiljka Jovanović, Provincial Secretary of Finance, Antonije Ratković, Mayor of Sombor, Nikola Žeželj, Director of the Development Agency of Vojvodina, as well as other representatives of institutions at the provincial and local level.