Four Local Governments in Three Countries Desire to Support the International Transfer Corridor Via Carpatia, 2015.04.17.

On 17 April 2015, in Rzeszow, Poland, the Agreement on Cooperation in Building up Via Carpatia, the shortest route from the north to the south of Europe, was signed by representatives of regional local governments in Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Signature of Agreement was the top o the international conference Via Carpatia – Strategic Corridor of EU Eastern Regions.

Wladyslaw Ortyl, Marszałek (Chairman) of the Polish Podkarpacie Duchy, Zdenko Trebuľa, Chairman of the Košice Self-Governing Region, Štefan Bieľak, Vice-chairman of the Prešov Self-Governing Region, and Desző Törör, Chairman of the Hungarian Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county council hereby declared that they agreed on the rules and principles of their mutual cooperation in completing the activities tending to achieve targets of Łańcut Declaration in respect of building the transport corridor Via Carpatia.

Building up the transport corridor Via Carpatia which goes along the Schengen border, within the European TEN-T network, is of broader importance from the national economy point of view. The Eastern region of Slovakia together with the North-Eastern region of Hungary and South-Eastern region of Poland is very important for the European policy of area planning. That territory is also crucial from the aspect of Carpathian region development as a whole, and the trans-regional cooperation in the European area from the point of view of international transport connections from the North to the South, as well.

The transport corridor Via Carpatia has a big potential. It can contribute to the economic development of the participating countries, not only by creating new working positions in small and medium-sized enterprises but also in science, research, technologies and industrial parks. The latter cannot work without road infrastructure and logistics.

“Even though it is not a new idea, at present, its completion has not started yet. For us, this was one of the reasons why we decided to join our forces. At the end of May 2013, the Košice Self-Governing Region and the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County created the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation Via Carpatia. The most substantial goal of EGTC is to give support to build up the North-South transport corridor Via Carpatia. Brussels plans to develop this corridor not sooner than after the year 2050, therefore, the national governments have not yet paid too much attention to this issue. Our grouping Via Carpatia is taking the bottom-up initiative. We are doing our best to boost the development of that transport corridor yet before the year 2050 because of its strategic importance for the regions along the Schengen border. The economic situation in those regions is not the best. In most cases these are backward regions with a rather high rate of unemployment. The growth and the faster finalization of the transport corridor Via Carpatia construction shall have a big impact on the economic development of regions through which the corridor goes”, said Zdenko Trebuľa, Chairman of the Košice Self-Governing Region who believes that this manifestation of joint desire of the regional local governments in three countries shall not remain without being noticed by the European Commission.

The main targets of the cooperation between four regional governments are, in principle, the activities tending to include the transfer corridor into the TEN-T network, into the entire length of the core network of the European Union, and to finalize the sections of transport infrastructure representing the transfer corridor Via Carpatia in particular regions. The regions shall be searching for the solutions to develop a given region by using potential of the transfer corridor Via Carpatia. Because the Agreement is an open document they plan to also invite other regions along the Via Carpatia to join the cooperation and thus enhance efficiency of the measures carried out.

The regional local governments shall inform each other on the possibilities how to finance their common targets through the European Union funds, to prepare, to implement and to evaluate the joint projects, strategic materials and action plans relating to Via Carpatia.

The Via Carpatia as the shortest route from the north to the south of Europe connects Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and Greece. The Via Carpatia shall lead from the Lithuanian seaport town of Klaipeda through Kaunas, the Polish towns of Lublin and Rzeszów, the Slovak towns of Košice and Prešov, the Hungarian towns of Miskolc and Debrecen, the Rumanian towns of Oradea, Lugoj, Cafalat and Constanta, through the Bulgarian towns of Sofia and Svilengrad and it shall end in the Greek town of Thessaloniki.