On the grounds of the Access to Public Information Act and an Order of the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, SeverozapazenaBG.com received a response to a query sent by the site publisher Border Checkpoint Project Salash – Novo Korito.
We present to our readers the MRDPW response wth minor cuts:
A Decision of the Council of Ministers in 2009 ratified an Agreement between the government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the government of the Republic of Serbia to open the border checkpoint Salash (Republic of Bulgaria) – Novo Korito (Republic of Serbia), which Agreement was signed on 27.06.2007. Pursuant to the Decision of the Council of Ministers, each country will develop the infrastructure required for the new border checkpoint (BCP) to operate and a Joint Expert Committee will be set up to clarify the technical characteristics of the road junctions, the location of the routes, their cross points with the border, the location of the new BCP and its technical parameters. The Committee is also to analyze the legal and actual issues associated with development of the checkpoint, as relating to performance of the functions on a Republic of Bulgaria border, which is “external” to the European Union. No such Committee has been established thus far.
Republic of Bulgaria has unilaterally commenced technical operation in pursuance of the Agreement’s arrangements. In 2009 the Border Police General Directorate at the Ministry of the Interior prepared, according to its competencies, a technical application for design of the BCP, proposing an approximate border crossing point, dimensions of the traffic lanes, requirement to the placement of the passport-visa control and customs inspection stations, basic requirements for the administrative building, power-supplying infrastructure- and communication lines, etc. Republic of Bulgaria has proposed several times to the Republic of Serbia to hold a joint, expert-level meeting in order to identify a border crossing point with the road infrastructure but the Serbian party declined such meetings citing various reasons. Using diplomatic channels, information was sought about the investment intentions of the Republic of Serbia for construction of appertaining road infrastructures and BCP’s on both sides of the border, as well as with regard to the setting up of the Joint Expert Committee envisaged in Art 3 of the Agreement. In 2011 MRDPW was advised of the fact that the Serbian state does not envisage any funding for development of BCP during 2011 and that the solving of these issues the Republic of Serbia is vested in the competence of more than one ministry.
In November 2012 a work meeting was held in the Republic of Serbia between representatives of the Municipalities of Knyazhevats and Belogradchik, with Bulgarian MP’s taking part as well. A common conclusion was reached about the expedience of setting up an interdepartmental committee on ministerial level involving both countries. From the Bulgarian side it was ascertained that out of the entire span of National Road III-1102 „Archer – Mali Dren – Izvor – Dimovo – Ostrokaptsi – Kladorub – Salash – Serbian border, some 12 km are in good shape, the remainder being in poor condition, whereas with regard to the section from km 20+610 to km 27+594 there is a rehabilitation project at the Road Infrastructure Agency (RIA), and with regard to the section from km 45+000 to km 50+075,55 – a reconstruction project. It is established from the sectioned project plan that it is necessary to carry out land alienation procedure affecting 104 land estates in the land plots of the village of Salash. The said road is not part of the RIA agenda for 2013. Given its importance relating to cross-border cooperation of the EU countries and to the economic development of the Northwestern Planning Region, RIA will propose incorporation of this road section in the expanded list of road projects envisaged for rehabilitation under the Operational Program Regions in Growth and in the Cross-Border Cooperation Program for the next programming period 2014-2020.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Bulgaria has advised MRDPW of a meeting held in January 2013 involving the Ministry of Regional Development and Local Government of the Republic of Serbia on various matters, including as regards the policy for opening new BCP’s between the two countries. For the Bulgarian party the conclusion from the meeting is that for the Republic of Serbia the priority is to develop economic and road infrastructure in the border municipalities, which would justify the opening of new BCP’s.