Doc. 10005

1 December 2003

The Integration of European waterways – Danube-Oder-Elbe Canal

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mr Melčák and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

            The European inland waterway network, a combination of natural rivers and man-made canals, is a key part of the European transport system, handling 4% of the region’s total cargo shipments. The network further has an important environmental role, providing a vital water management system for accumulating and redistributing resources. The network also has the potential to be utilized for other functions such as recreation, tourism and possibly power generation.

Given delayed development in the Eastern sections of the network under the Communist regimes, upgrades are now required. The welcomed integration of the central and eastern European economies into the Greater Europe, as exemplified by European Union enlargement, makes such development ever more urgent.

      The Danube-Oder-Elbe Canal is a key part of such a revitalization project. This canal would serve to fill the gap in the centre of the network and provide a missing link between the Northern sea ports of Germany and Poland and the waterway system of the Danube. The project is strongly supported by the regional and national governments involved (notably the Czech Republic, Austria and Poland) and financing for the project is proposed from a combination of sources, including the EU Cohesion Fund, development banks such as the EBRD and private partnership.

      This project has a direct bearing on the Assembly’s Resolution 1321 (2003) on “50 years of the ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport): transport policies for Greater Europe” which states that:

      “The Assembly notes the growing pressure on the policy makers in the ECMT member states: to improve, and in particular ensure links between, waterways, which are alone capable of offering a completely environmentally-friendly response to growth in the transport of heavy materials, or transport by container;”.Th

The Parliamentary Assembly therefore:

1.       urges continued expansion of the European waterway network and increased utilization of current water systems for freight transportation and other functions.

2.       calls for further research on potential economic and environmental benefits to support the expansion of the network.

3.       whole-heartedly supports the regional authorities involved in the campaign for the completion of the Danube-Oder-Elbe Canal as a key part of this network, including their pressure for the necessary funding.

Signed (see overleaf)

Signed 1:

Melčák, Czech Republic, SOC

Andov, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", LDR

Ateş, Turkey, SOC

Burbienė, Lithuania, SOC

Frey, Switzerland, LDR

Högmark, Sweden, EPP/CD

Kirilov, Bulgaria, SOC

Klympush, Ukraine, EDG

Öhman, Sweden, SOC

Pintat Rossell, Andorra, LDR

Russell-Johnston, United Kingdom, LDR

Sasi, Finland, EPP/CD

Schreiner, France, EDG

Stefanov, Bulgaria, LDR

Zapfl-Helbling, Switzerland, EPP/CD

1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group