Cretu: I Feel Proud When I See How EU Money Helps Improve Lives

European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 16 (TASR) – The Freedom Cycling Bridge – connecting the Bratislava borough of Devinska Nova Ves to the Austrian village of Schlosshof – is a place that thanks to EU funds has successfully changed from a former place of pain to one of joy and benefits, TASR learnt on Friday.

This was said on the bridge in Devinska Nova Ves by European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu in reference to the fact that the bridge links two states that were once separated by the barbed wire.

“I come from a country where we knew what the Iron Curtain means, so I can empathise with the history of the place where many people were killed when escaping in hope for a better life,” said the eurocomissioner who is of Romanian origin.

Cretu, who is on a working visit to Bratislava in order to become personally acquainted with the strategic transport projects that have been co-financed from EU funds, sees the Freedom Cycling Bridge as a symbolic place and project. “It shows that thanks to the Cross Border Cooperation programme we can overcome barriers and replace walls with bridges,” she said, adding that apart from the economic benefits of the programme, it also enables people to get closer to each other.

Bratislava region (BSK) governor Pavol Freso pointed out that freedom and democracy are not values that can be taken for granted. They aren’t for free, so it’s necessary to appreciate them, stated Freso. “That’s also why I thank the European Union that it’s helping to build such bridges as this one and via them helping to bring people together and spread freedom,” he said.

Along with the representatives of Lower Austria, Freso presented a planned project of another cycling bridge in Vysoka pri Morave and Gajary (both Bratislava region) to the commissioner.

The construction of the Freedom Cycling Bridge began in 2011 and was officially opened on September 22, 2012. The project was built by a consortium of Ingsteel and Doprastav and co-financed from the Slovak Republic-Austria 2007-13 Cross Border Cooperation Programme.