EU "Corridor No. 7"
Priority transport corridor
The Danube has been defined as the “Pan-European Transport Corridor VII,” part of one of 30 priority axes of the EU's Trans-European Network for Transportation.
The Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) is comprised of roads, rail, inland waterways and ports, seaports and airports throughout the EU and its accession countries. Projects for developing transport infrastructure and the services necessary for the operation of these networks are proposed by the Member States.
A High-Level Group on the TEN-T identified several “bottlenecks” on the Danube and proposed their elimination as part of the TEN-T priority projects. The legal document - the TEN-T guidelines - does not specify how these priority projects should be implemented, whether by traditional approaches focused on damming and canalising the river, or reliance on more innovative solutions involving new technologies. It is only the report of the high-level group that suggested bottleneck removal by river regulation -- so legally, the door is open to new approaches.
In fact, according to research commissioned by WWF and carried out by the Hungarian Environmental Economics Centre (download to the right), the existing capacity for shipping on the Danube is not being exploited. There are other "bottlenecks" for shipping on the Danube, such as the logistical nodes where goods are transferred between ships and trains or lorries.
What is happening now?
The EU Member States have proposed projects for river regulation on the priority sections of the Danube and have applied for available EU funds. Projects are at various stages - from early planning to nearing implementation. In practice, most projects submitted by the Ministries of Transportation suggest old-fashioned and outdated approaches, which are focused on concrete and canalising. These methods are likely to have negative impacts on the living river, including the bountiful benefits and services it provides.
Most of the targeted sections are the most valuable remaining riparian areas on the Danube.