Partnership for Improvement of Danube

Infrastructure and Navigation (PIDIN)


(11th PIDIN Meeting)


11th of October 2011



On 11th October ECPD director Mr Janez Podobnik and David Tavželj attended the 11th PIDIN MEETING at SECI office in Vienna, Austria. The meeting was attended by representatives of public and private entities from the Danube countries as well as representatives from relevant regional and European organisations and institutions.


The topic of the 11th PIDIN Meeting was Financing of Danube Projects: Opportunities and Challenges for Private Sector Participation. As suggested by the topic the overall objective of this PIDIN meeting was to provide an overview of the challenges and the opportunities for financing of Danube Projects as key factors for realisation of the objectives of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) and therefore its successful implementation, with specific focus on the role of the private sector and private investment in the overall EUSDR implementation process and in Danube projects. The topic was addressed from various perspectives and some important aspects concerning the ongoing process of the implementation of the EUSDR as such, and the financing of Danube projects in particular were highlighted during the meeting. 


Mr. Podobnik initiated the discussion by presenting the Project on Recreational and Long Distance Tourism Bicycle Lanes along the Sava River, which would connect capital cities Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade. Mr. Podobnik emphasised that with respect to the EUSDR, the project addresses the Tourism aspects of the Strategy, by creating transnational tourist packages, such as combined boat/rail and bicycle trips on the Danube and the Sava. Additionally, it also addresses sustainable mobility, through improved traffic and interconnectivity of trains busses and shipping in the Danube countries. The project also improves planning and infrastructure for sustainable tourism as well as to support hiking and cycling tourism. With respect to the question of opportunities for the private sector within this project, Mr. Podobnik stressed that in this project tourism is the primary opportunity, such as accommodation or hospitality facilities (refreshment centres, info spots), renting of bicycles, promotion of cultural heritage etc. In his opinion, the weakness of the project for the private sector is that the private sector can be involved in this project only after the bicycle lanes have already been constructed. Therefore, for this first phase the project needs the support of the International Financial Institutions, the national budget or the local municipalities’ budget. As positive experience in this respect, Mr. Podobnik mentioned their cooperation with Siemens, who were very clear that they support the project, but they emphasised that they are ready to invest after the cycling lanes will be constructed. The initiators of this project idea consider that this project is a bankable project and that its estimated timeframe can be two years with an estimated cost value of 25mEUR, with 2,5mEUR for the preparatory and project development works. They are open to any suggestions concerning the implementation of this project.


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