Cretu: Bratislava’s Old Bridge Is Symbol of Europe’s Unification

EU Commissioner Cretu inspects Bratislava's Old Bridge (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 16 (TASR) – High-quality projects with delays are better than hasty ones with imperfections, said European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu in connection with the delay in completing the reconstruction of Bratislava’s Old Bridge from European funds.

Accompanied by Bratislava mayor Ivo Nesrovnal, Cretu travelled by tram across the newly reconstructed bridge and then also walked along it. “I think that you managed to complete a very sound project,” she said during her inspection. She praised the new trams, stating that they can compete with the ones in Strasbourg in terms of design.

“Infrastructure is a very demanding matter. It takes time, and can’t be built overnight. The most important thing is to have a high-quality project and to use the finances in a wise manner,” said Cretu, adding that the delay that occurred in the case of the Old Bridge reconstruction is usual in new EU-member states.

The reconstruction of the Old Bridge and construction of a tram line over the Danube River to the borough of Petrzalka cost €69 million. Cretu views the Old Bridge as important not only for the 120,000 residents of Petrzalka; she also sees a kind of symbolism regarding the unification of East and West. “While we see many differences and divisions within the European Union, it’s very important to point to important symbolic moments these days, as it shows us that we can be united and should be united,” stressed Cretu.

Nesrovnal thanked Cretu to her personal contribution towards the implementation of the transport project. “We launched tram transport for Petrzalka residents for the first time in 55 years. We view this as a big joint success. It’s evidence of the fact that very good things can be done in Bratislava if you do them with heart, energy and with the support of good partners,” he said.

The European Union provided 85 percent of the finances for the project, while the state covered 10 percent and the city 5 percent. The city had to complete the project by the end of 2015 in order to obtain European funds for it. The reconstruction work on the Old Bridge was completed in mid-December 2015. The bridge was opened to pedestrians and cyclists in May, while the tram service across the bridge to Petrzalka was launched in July.