The European Union and South-East Europe: A common vision for connecting people

In the field of transport in the Western Balkans, the Slovenian Presidency of the EU is working hard to ensure that the European Commission is given a mandate to open negotiations on an EU ‘Transport Community Treaty’ with the countries of South-eastern Europe.

The Transport Ministers discussed guiding principles for a transport agreement at the EU Transport Council meeting in April. The proposed guidelines are aimed at establishing an integral market for road, rail and maritime and inland waterway transport with the countries of South-Eastern Europe. The proposal is based on investigative talks on cooperation in the field of transport initiated in 2007 with EU neighbouring countries.

Cooperation in the field of transport is governed by the Memorandum on the development of the South-East Europe Core Regional Transport Network signed in 2004, which served as the basis for the establishment of the South-East Europe Transport Observatory (SEETO). The Slovenian EU Presidency wishes to further enhance this successful cooperation with the intention of eliminating a transport ‘oasis’ within the EU and improving mobility in the region and between EU Member States.

An informal ministerial conference will therefore be organised in Belgrade on 7 May 2008 entitled ‘The European Union and South-East Europe: A common vision for connecting people’. The conference is organised by the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Slovenia in cooperation with the South-East Europe Transport Observatory and with the support of the European Commission. The conference will be dedicated to the presentation of planned activities related to the ‘transport community’.

The informal ministerial conference, to which EU Member State and South-East European country Transport Ministers have been invited, is being organised and run in cooperation with the European Commission and the European Parliament. The conference, held at the Sava Centre in Belgrade, will be formally opened by Boris Tadič, the President of Serbia, and chaired by the Slovenian Minister of Transport, Mr Radovan Žerjav; the activities of the European Commission will be presented by Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner responsible for Transport, while the views of the European Parliament will be outlined by Paolo Costa, chairman of the EP Committee on Transport. Future activities in the context of the EU will be presented by Dominique Bussereau, the French Secretary of State for Transport.

Slovenian Presidency

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