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SEETAC event at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium

"Strengthening Transport Networks in South East Europe: The Way Ahead for European Integration" SEETAC meeting with Members of  European Parliament European Commission and relevant stakeholders

On 9th of December, the SEETAC Project was successfully presented at the European Parliament in Brussels during an event co-organised by the Central European Initiative (CEI) and hosted by Hon. Antonio Cancian (Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament).

The general objective of the meeting was to discuss the challenges of the Western Balkans in their path towards integration into the EU Transport Networks, by analyzing the current EU transport revision process and instruments, as well as the role of the SEETAC Project. SEETAC partners had the opportunity to meet Members of European Parliament, EC officials, and other relevant stakeholders (i.e. national and regional Representatives to the EU, Transport Associations and Transport Lobbies), directly involved in TEN-T revision and in the EU enlargement process.

The event, chaired by Mr. Carlo Fortuna, SEETAC Content Manager, was attended by several Members of the European Parliament who addressed the audience: Hon. Cancian (Italy), Hon. Kukan (Slovak Republic), Hon. Marinescu (Romania), and Hon. Ranner (Austria), EC officials from DG Move and DG Enlargement, the Joint Technical Secretariat of the South East Europe programme, officials from national and regional representations to the EU and numerous transport associations and lobbies.

CEI Secretary General, Amb. Pfanzelter, briefly introduced the activities of the CEI and emphasized  its strategic objective to help non-EU Member States to get closer to the European Union. In this context, the SEETAC project represents a flagship initiative, because not only is it in the line with this objective but it also witnesses the ability of the CEI in acting as a reliable partner for the EU, able to manage and implement EU funds and policies.

In his speech, Hon. Cancian highlighted the importance of the transport sector for the Western Balkans, and also expressed the necessity to create an Adriatic system in the region. He explained that as the Danube river has inspired the creation of a macro-region for the riverain countries and beyond, so should the Adriatic Sea. He also stressed the need for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the implementation of future transport projects, since neither national nor EU budgets are enough especially in times of budgetary constraints.

Following a brief presentation of SEETAC state of art, the European Commission officials took the floor. Mr. Baron, Policy Officer and Mr. Adelsberger, expert, explained the current status of the TEN-T (Trans European Transport Network) revision, methodology and its extension to the Western Balkans. They both expressed their appreciation for the SEETAC Project and its importance as a contribution to prioritize South East Europe transport projects in the light of the current TEN-T revision. Mr. Baron, in particular, pointed out the necessity to define a similar methodology in the definition of a core network for the Western Balkan region. This implies that quality of data collection and financial information are put in exercise and SEETAC will be an effort in this respect.

Ms. Gianfranchi, Policy Officer from DG Enlargement gave a significant input by explaining the rationale of the Instrument for the Pre-Accession (IPA) for candidate and potential candidate countries in financing  transport projects.

Mr. Fortuna closed the conference expressing his willingness to continue the fruitful cooperation with the European Commission as well as with the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament.

The panelists as well as the participants expressed their satisfaction for the very encouraging results of the conference.

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