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President of the EU Transport Council, Slovenian Minister of Transport, Radovan Žerjav, after the transport conference ‘European Union and South-East Europe: A common vision for connecting people’

The conference ‘European Union and South-East Europe: A common vision for connecting people’, organised by the Ministries of Transport of the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Serbia, the South East Europe Transport Observatory and the European Commission, was dedicated to the presentation of planned activities related to the ‘transport community’ between the European Union and the region of South-East Europe.

The Slovenian Presidency believes that the successful conference will further build on existing good cooperation with the aim of eliminating a transport ‘oasis’ within the European Union and improving mobility in the region and between EU Member States.

At the Conference, the Slovenian EU Presidency expressed its unequivocal support for conferring a mandate on the European Commission as soon as possible to open negotiations leading to the conclusion of an EU ‘Transport Community Treaty’ with the countries of South-East Europe. At the Transport Council meeting in April, EU Transport Ministers discussed guiding principles for a transport agreement. The ‘Transport Community Treaty’ is aimed at establishing a single market for road, rail, maritime and inland waterway transport with the countries of South-East Europe. The Treaty is also aimed at bringing the region’s legislation closer to EU legislation.

The Slovenian Presidency is pleased to note that the conference was well attended;  it was opened by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr Boris Tadić.

The South East Europe Transport Observatory deserves special mention for its excellent cooperation in the demanding task of organising and running the conference. I would like to point out that this is also confirmation of the cooperation successfully established in the field of transport, as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding 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).

On behalf of the Slovenian Presidency, I would also like to thank everyone who contributed to the successful conclusion of the conference.  Let me mention, in particular, the Ministry of Infrastructure of the Republic of Serbia and the European Commission.  I am delighted that the Slovenian Presidency proposed this conference and that we could contribute to its successful planning and organisation.


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Date: 08.05.2008