Via Carpatia: a vital road for Three Seas Initiative and entire Europe
The development of interstate connectivity is a crucial topic for the Three Seas Initiative. Via Carpatia could become one of the solutions to tackle the mentioned issue since it links several states of the region. Poland, an initiator and a strong proponent of Via Carpatia, insists that the road must be included in the TEN-T network.
“It is an opportunity for all of us,” Andrzej Adamczyk, Poland’s minister of infrastructure, highlighted the importance of the Via Carpatia project for Central Eastern Europe when speaking at the Three Seas Business Summit to take place in Sofia on 8-9 July. Such a phrase sounded extraordinary and unrealistically fifteen years ago when the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński initiated the road project to link four countries (Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary).
Now, the situation has drastically changed. “There were many discussions why it (the road – IntermodalNews.eu) is useful. In 2016 I discussed the issue with the ministers of transport from nine other states and we were convincing and were explaining to each other why we really need this connection, I mean Via Carpatia. Now the question is different: when? When Via Carpatia will be completed?” the Polish minister shared his thoughts and experience related to the project. His country is planning to complete its section of the road by 2026. Many works have been done in Lithuania. Hungary will open its section of Via Carpatia in August. Meanwhile, the other countries should speed up their activities in road construction.
Another important question for the Via Carpatia project is its inclusion into the TEN-T network. Poland has been advocating this for several consecutive years. The key argument in this regard is the vital importance of the motorway for the development of seven EU states. Initially, the road was proposed as a north-south connection between the mentioned four states. With joining Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, the project was extended to the Aegean Sea. As of today, Via Carpatia is a sea-to-sea road that connects ports of several seas: Baltic, Aegean, Black, Adriatic.
Therefore, the members of the Three Seas Initiative, particularly Poland, are interested in adding the motorway to the TEN-T network of transport corridors. “I am calling again within the TEN-T revision for adding Via Carpatia to the basic network. We are working on this. I hope that this will be completed this autumn in Brussels. In this regard, it is very important that we will be united in this issue,” said Andrzej Adamczyk.
Branches of Via Carpatia
The main route of Via Carpatia runs from the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda to Thessaloniki in Greece via the eastern regions of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the western parts of Romania, Bulgaria. At the same time, the motorway has several branches. In March 2016 two non-EU countries, Ukraine and Turkey, joined the Via Carpatia corridor. In the Łańcut Declaration signed together with the two states, there were clarified six branches of the road that increased the potential of the main route.
One branch crosses Poland to connect Via Carpatia with Warsaw and the ports of Tri-City, Gdańsk and Gdynia. Another one-country branch is located in Romania. It links the cities of Oradea and Cluj Napoca with Bucharest and the port of Constanta. Four other side routes are international and connect two or three countries. There are two branches from Poland (Lublin and Rzeszów) to Romania via Ukraine (Lviv). The last two branches connect Poland and Ukraine as well as Bulgaria and Turkey. As Andrzej Adamczyk concluded at the forum in Sofia, the Via Carpatia motorway has great potential in improving connectivity in the Three Seas region.