New Section of the Via Carpathia/ New road Corridor Connecting the Baltic Sea with the Caspian Sea (form Klaipeda to Baku) to boost regional development and growth

New Section of the Via Carpathia/ New road Corridor Connecting the Baltic Sea with the Caspian Sea (form Klaipeda to Baku) to boost regional development and growth

In the European Parliament in Brussels, Law and Justice (PiS) MEP Tomasz Poręba hosted a round table discussion on a new section of the Via Carpathia, the most important road corridor along the eastern border of the EU on the North-South axis connecting the Baltic See with Aegean, Black and Adriatic Seas.

Present at the meeting were Pablo Fabregas Martinez, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Commissioner for Transport; Ambassador Faruk Kaymakcı, Turkish Permanent Delegation to the EU; Ambassador Vaqif Sadıqov, Mission to the European Union of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Bidzina Javakhashvili, Deputy Head of Mission of Georgia to the European Union; Vardan Sargsyan, Deputy Head of Mission of Armenia; and Ryszard Czarnecki, PiS Member of the European Parliament.

Pablo Fabregas Martinez, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Commissioner for Transport said, “In the context of Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine and instability in Middle East, we need to diversify transport routes in order to have much more resilient and stable transport network.

Transport is connecting businesses, different parts of the regions and citizens, but also makes that interaction much more fluent. It is not only the backbone of our economies, without transport any business trade and will not happen”.

Tomasz Poręba said that the Via Carpatia – starting in Klaipeda and passing Kaunas, Białystok, Lublin, Rzeszów, Košice, Miskolc, Debrecen, Oradea, Lugoj to Calafat/Constanta, Svilengrad and Thessaloniki – is the shortest highway from the north to the south. He recalled that the idea to build this international highway connection was launched first by Poland and afterwards joined by six other EU Member States (Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece).

“Thanks to our common efforts, the Via Carpatia is today the most important transit route in Europe’s eastern regions. It has been fully recognised by the European Union’s institutions and consequently all sections of the road were included in the TEN-T network. It’s the right moment to extend transport connection via Turkey and Georgia to Azerbaijan in order to include Caspian Sea”, Poręba stressed.

Speaking on the new section of the Via Carpatia – the Caucasian Road Corridor – Poręba said it would open direct access from Turkey and the Caucasian countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) to the Baltic Sea. “This project will boost development in the region and significantly accelerate its economic growth”, Poręba emphasized.

Turkish Ambassador Faruk Kaymakcı said that the possibility to easily reach northern European countries will attract investment and create a favourable business and industrial environment for large companies, as well as for small- and medium-sized enterprises. “This would consequently result in job creation, reduce unemployment and improve living conditions of our citizens”, he said. “Turkey is ready to strongly cooperate with the EU on that matter”, he added.

Ambassador Vaqif Sadıqov of the Republic of Azerbaijan emphasized: “In the context of energy security, this new international road corridor is of critical importance to the countries concerned. Connecting Caspian Sea and South Caucasus with the EU should be a matter of strategic importance for both parties”.

Georgian Deputy Head of Mission Bidzina Javakhashvili said that Tbilisi welcomes transport plans with hope and is ready to cooperate in order to implement them.

Deputy Head of Mission of Armenia to the EU Vardan Sargsyan stressed that Armenia wants to play a key role as the communication hub for the countries of the region.

According to Tural Ganjaliyev Member of the Azerbaijani Parliament, new road connections between the Caspian Sea and the European Union will not only accelerate the economic development of the South Caucasus, but may be an important element of political cooperation and normalization of the situation in the region. It is also a great opportunity for Europe to build strong relations with Azerbaijan and take advantage of its growing role and economic potential.

“We should underline the importance of the Via Carpatia running on the North-South axis between the Baltic, Aegean, Black and Adriatic Seas, thus embedding into the process of advancing economic and territorial cohesion of the European Union, and contributing to the social and economic development of the Central and Southern Europe. Countries like Türkiye and Azerbaijan play an important role in turning these corridors from projects to reality.

The EU must continue to invest and take a lead role in transregional trade corridor projects. This interconnectivity increases the competitiveness of European goods and products”, said ECR MEP Ryszard Czarnecki.

Regarding ongoing negotiations on further expanding the TEN-T network to new regions, Poręba said: “We cannot stop here. We have to use this opportunity to bring forward new future-proof road projects connecting the Baltic See through seven European countries with the Caspian Sea.

“All countries are ready in terms of concept, infrastructure, plans and ideas. They are ready to improve connectivity. It’s time to act”.

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