BULGARIA IS REELING TO GO ON WITH CORRIDOR N8
The government of Bulgaria should inform the Italian Ministry of Transport about its demands for financing that part of the General European Transport Corridor N8 which crosses the territory of Bulgaria, said prof. Marin Devedzhiev, Chairman of the Bulgarian Geopolitical Company, during the international scientific conference held in Sofia last week. The memorandum for development of the corridor, approved in Bari last September, stipulates that the financial claims be presented in four months - by January 9, 2003.The extention of corridor N8 to the Georgian port of Poti will make it a transcontinental road connecting the Far East with Europe. The implementation of big infrastructural projects in Asia will increase many times the amount of transported commodities towards Europe, so Bulgaria has the chance to get involved in this traffic due to its Black Sea ports. Loads transported along the Transsyberian line alone have increased up to 500,000 containers per year. This will bring back to life the Bourgas port and will relieve the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) to some extent. The simultaneous construction of an oil pipe-line is a unique opportunity for Bulgaria to become an energy distribution centre on the Balkans, said prof. Nikola Altunkov.Despite the opposition of Athens which claimed that on its territory there is a highway connecting Thessaloniki with Alexandroupolis and Dedeagach, the European corridor will not change its route to pass through Northern Greece instead of Sofia and Skopje, prof. Devedzhiev assured. The problem is that if Bulgaria fails to speed up the utilisation of the financial resources, the construction of corridor N8 will be delayed. The funds should be provided by the European Committee on Energy and Transport, experts say. It is also important that Bulgaria keep stable its railway links with Skopje and Kichevo.Regardless of all declarations in support of the project, none of the Bulgarian governments since 1990 has ever made any progress, people from the geopolitical company comment. Representatives of the ministries of regional development and transport are now turning down the proposals that scientists make to them. At the same time, Bulgaria's neighbours to the north and to the west are working actively on doubling the future European transport corridors and making them go round Sofia. For example, Romania insists on building a highway Constanta-Bucharest-Budapest. Scientists are convinced that Bulgarian institutions should insist on receiving funds from the European Union for the project. Otherwise, from a geopolitical centre of the Balkans Sofia may become an infrastructural gap.