Archive for April 15th, 2011

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The Danube action plan gets the go ahead

April 15, 2011

Well dear readers, as the River Danube and the Danube Delta are not so very far from me, I have been following the EU and neighbours ruminations over it for quite some time.

The EU action plan for the Danube managed to get endorsed on 13 April, no small accomplishment for the Hungarian Presidency given the glacial movement of all things EU orientated.  The reason for the fairly swift movement of this plan is that there is no additional cash from the EU involved…..so why not back it.

Now the action plan is not exactly a short read.  There are understandably some environmental issues such as widening the Danube at the shipping bottlenecks.  It would no doubt also mean a fair amount of dredging work.  Obviously the more shipping traffic, commercial and tourist, the more pollution the Danube is likely to suffer on top of the dredging and widening issues.  That is not to say the Danube is in pristine condition now of course.

You must also question the target date of 2015 for certain accomplishments.  4 years is not a long time for the 8 EU member states and 4 non-EU states to take an action plan and turn it into a reality…..even if the action plan does designate lead roles over issues and provide a guide to who is accountable for what, there will still need to be committees, sub-committees and consultations before anything actually begins.

Some of the action plan would certainly seem at odds with regional international conventions existing between some nations through which the Danube flows.

However, there are some environmental and energy bonuses in the plan for those of you who have 40 minutes to read it.

Danube Delta

There is time for this action plan to yet still run aground despite the EU endorsement of it, although I would hope that the clean up would still go ahead regardless.  It is a quite beautiful river ecology in places.  Let us hope that Ukraine, where it has a designated role in the action plan, becomes a driver……particularly in the ecological and environmental arena……and not just the energy and management areas where it stands to gain financially.

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