“Waterways Forward” project in Vojvodina accepted

“We have just received good news from our Dutch colleagues, and that is that the Monitoring Committee in Brussels has decided to approve the Waterways Forward project on the management and modernization of Europe’s inland waterways of the Office for European Affairs and Public Water Management Company “Vode Vojvodine”. The project value in the first phase is €3 million and the project partners are representatives of 11 EU member states: Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, as well as Norway and the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, as Serbia’s representative. It is through the efforts of Vojvodina that Serbia has become a partner of this great project, as the only country on the way towards the EU. The waterway, which length exceeds 500 kilometers in our province, is a great recourse for agriculture, economy, tourism, sport, culture, etc. Likewise, climate changes are causing alternate floods and droughts on our continent and in this sense the waterways can also be a factor in mitigating these sudden changes: in periods of droughts we will irrigate our goods by means of waterways, and in periods of flooding, we will redirect water and thus reduce the pressure on defensive resources. This summer we managed to organize the World Conference on Water Management and we attracted partners from a lot of countries. We believe that the project implementation, which is to start at the beginning of next year, will open new doors for the modernization of our waterways and it will be a basis for the use of more EU structural funds, which are awaiting us after our accession to the European Union. Some countries and some regions have managed to make best use of European funds in the pre-accession period, while others have not. The Province of Vojvodina and Republic of Serbia want to develop rapidly their administrative and development capacities with this project and similar ones, so that no Euro would be left unused”, said Predrag Novikov, Director the Office for European Affairs.

The main goal of “Waterways Froward” project is the promotion of integrated and sustainable development of regional waterways, and the task is administrative capacity building, so that changes would be used, European experiences exchanged and economic development of regions, where waterways go through, encouraged. Special emphasis will be placed on establishing connections between economic actors, while respecting the environment. Moreover, the project is also directed at the promotion of tourism through a more efficient management of waterways. According to the data of the European Union, there are more than a million boats currently sailing on the waterways all over the continent, and that number is increasing each year by about 3%. Special emphasis has been given to the modernisation of waterways passing through protected goods and national parks by working on pollution and waste reduction and drinking water management. This project is directly related to the Water Framework Directive of the EU, which regulates key strategic approaches, and an important element of the project is necessary cooperation among regions in great river basins on the European continent because no region or country can solve this issue on its own.