The design was inspired by the natural environment and is fully respecting it
Interview with Nicolae Barbu, Mayor of Giurgiu, Romania
Nicolae Barbu was born in 1966. He was president of “Danubius” Rotary Club, Chief of Romanian Employers (Giurgiu Subsidiary), President of the Local organization of the Social Democratic Party and one of the most important local foundations for social solidarity.
Nicolae Barbu was a town councilor until 2012 when he became mayor of Giurgiu, as independent, and in 2016 was re-elected from the social democrats. As a mayor Barbu developed a lot of local, national and European projects.
Mr Barbu, how would you describe Giurgiu briefly? What do you want our audience to know about it?
Giurgiu is located on the southern edge of a country, on the left bank of the Danube, in a swampy area, 65 km south of the capital Bucharest, at the border with the Ruse region of Bulgaria, the region with residence, the city of Ruse even on the opposite bank of the Danube. It is the residence of the county, and, together with Ruse, one of the two centers of the cross-border Euroregion Ruse-Giurgiu. The town is located both in the Burnaz Plain and in the Danube Meadow.
Giurgiu and Ruse are twin towns. Except for the Giurgiu-Ruse Friendship Bridge, what others common projects do you have implemented together with the Bulgarian city?
We had several common projects with the city of Ruse. I want to highlight the the European project “Improvement of the Accessibility of the Euroregion Ruse – Giurgiu with Pan-European transport corridor 9” - the objective was to improve the main transport infrastructure in the Euroregion, which contributed to the fluidization of the road traffic in the border area and its deployment in optimal safety conditions. The investment works were aimed at rehabilitating an important boulevard in Ruse, Tutrakan, as well as the rehabilitation/modernization of two Giurgiu road segments connecting the border area with the city center. On this route, in a total length of 2 411 m, there are also two roundabouts.
Another project is “The ERGO Master-Plan”. It is the first venture that outlines cross-border infrastructure development. “The ERGO Master-Plan” has become a joint document of two independent and self-contained cities, which are of different size use different languages (even different alphabets). “The ERGO Master-Plan”, therefore, is a real European project bridging not only the Danube river but also all customary differences and conflicts that arise amid separate nationalities and local traditions. The fact that Ruse and Giurgiu are located at this most important international traffic junction provides a strong basis for economic development - not only because of the Danube, but especially with regard to the north-south connection from Kiev (via Bucharest) to Istanbul and Aleksandropolis/ Thessaloniki. Therefore, one of the main objectives for the ERGO Master-Plan was to deal with all modes of transport including shipping, aviation, railway and roads, with a specifically focus on improving publictransport. Alongside this infrastructure topic, the main challenge was to find out how to use these options and advantages in order to attract major enterprises to locate their industrial plants at the Ruse/Giurgiu node. Everything else, especially solutions to social needs, is dependent on the strengthening of the local economy.
Giurgiu City Hall is among the most active in Romania in receiving European funding. Tell about the most important EU supported projects.
Since my first term as mayor I have supported and encouraged European projects. Considering that they are absolutely necessary for the development of our city and we are making further efforts to access new European funds. So, over time, we have made important projects for Giurgiu, such as:
- “High Performance Green Port Giurgiu”
Transforming Giurgiu Port into the first "Green Harbor on the Danube" based on integrated efficiency concepts, energy and comprehensive environmental measures for intermodal ports. The transformation of Giurgiu Harbor is a two-stage process: elaboration of studies and development of Green Harbor concepts from 2013 to 2015 and work and construction of the infrastructure from 2016 to 2020.
The first stage has been traced, and now is the second phase under construction, achieved through the implementation of the project, which is funded through the CEF - Mechanism program for Interconnecting Europe. The general budget of the project is 15,594,063 euros with EU contribution of 13,254,954 euros.
- “Establishing a Growth Market for Fish in Giurgiu Municipality”
The project was funded through the "Operational Program for Fisheries 2007 - 2013 "and had a duration of 24 months. The financing contract being signed on 9th December 2013. The project contributed to:
- increasing the competitiveness of the long-term fisheries sector in Giurgiu County;
- monitoring market price for fish;
- stimulating competitive market behavior;
- increasing the transparency of transactions on the fish market;
- buyers will benefit from products marketed under optimum hygiene conditions, and conservation;
- concentrating fish resources in one place;
- ensuring compliance with quality procedures, control, hygiene standards.
I will enumerate further European projects successfully realized in our city like: ”Intervention works to increase the energy performance of housing blocks, Giurgiu Municipality, Ensemble 1"; ”Intervention works to increase the energy performance of housing blocks, Giurgiu Municipality, Ensemble 2“; “National Tourist Information and Promotion Center - Giurgiu"; ”Improvement space recreation on the Cama Canal, adjacent Pod Bizetz – City Giurgiu”.
What are you doing to attract investors and strategic projects?
It is not easy to attract investors and to launch strategic projects, but the Giurgiu City Hall has succeeded in implementing a significant number of strategic European projects, necessary and important through a lot of work, openness to innovation and broadening of horizons and, of course, transparency.
TheMayor.eu is a unified platform for the European municipalities, where the citizens can get the latest information about what is taking place in the European Union. How can the portal be useful to you and to the citizens of Giurgiu?
Romania is a European country and the city of Giurgiu is also a European city, the fact that TheMayor.eu is a platform of the European mayors, gives us the opportunity to join the other mayors of Europe, to make our town known, the projects and to take also examples of good practice, sharing experience and information. Citizens of Giurgiu can learn directly about other local governments in Europe and find out interesting things.
Which are the main goals and good examples you plan to develop for the near future?
I wish first of all to accomplish everything I started from the first term because there are plenty of ongoing projects and I want to further to develop this small but wonderful and great Danube city where I am proud to live and to be a mayor, and according to the Integrated Urban Development Strategy, we aim in different sectors to bring improvements for the city's inhabitants such as economy: the economic development of the city must be stimulated, with the potential to develop and strengthen the business environment, especially on the cross-border area. Thus, the realization of the Giurgiu Sud Industrial Park, the establishment of a cross-border business incubator, the extension of Giurgiu Hub Business Incubator and the support of young people in the entrepreneurial process represent new challenges and development opportunities for the municipality. Transport Infrastructure: investments in this sector will primarily focus on improving road infrastructure, creating bicycle tracks, paving the pavements, and providing facilities for people with locomotor difficulties. At the average, it should be noted that due to the geographic location of Giurgiu Municipality, it meets the optimal conditions necessary for the development of initiatives in the field of renewable, solar and wind energy. In this respect, a number of actions to be developed were taken at local level implemented in order to protect the environment and for the sustainable development of the locality.
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