On February 25, 2021, the border regions took part in constructive discussions and meaningful presentations within the Working meeting within the Round Table “Aviation in the Carpathian region” implemented under the Hungary – Slovakia – Romania – Ukraine ENI CBC Programme 2014-2020 and initiated by the Maramureş County Council of Romania.
The event was supported by the Zakarpattia Regional Council, Maramureş County Council and Satu Mare County Council, Self-Government of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg region and Košice Self-Government Region with the direct participation of the heads of all border regions: Oleksiy Petrov, Ionel-Ovidiu Bogdan, Oszkár Seszták and Rastislav Trnka. It was thanks to the partner support of the border regions that we were able to organize an active discussion on this complex topic.
Oleksiy Petrov, Head of the Zakarpattia Regional Council, Ukraine, noted the importance of aviation links and a multimodal approach to the development of transport links in border areas.
Оleksiy Petrov: “For Zakarpattia, good neighborliness is a part of culture, therefore borders are not only lines of demarcation, but also lines of unity. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the level of economic activity has decreased, including the field of aviation. Due to the large financial losses, it is necessary to look for new methods and introduce new measures to increase the mobility of the population. Today Zakarpattia oblast has a developed network of border checkpoints (19 checkpoints)
Uzhhorod International Airport is a communal enterprise and is under the management of the Zakarpattia Regional Council. Over the past year, a large number of events have been carried out aimed at restoring aviation connections: on September 24, 2020, the Presidents of Ukraine and Slovakia signed an agreement regarding the use of airspace over Slovakia, and which will allow the restoration of the full-fledged operation of Uzhhorod International Airport. The modernization and reconstruction of this object is already underway, including the allocated of large funds by government of Ukraine for the reconstruction of the runway, as well as for the reconstruction of the terminal building.
The statement by the President of Ukraine on the construction of a new international airport in Transcarpathia, as well as the resumption of the work of the Uzhhorod International
Airport is extremely important. Moreover, it was agreed that the Boryspil airport will transfer the necessary equipment to the Uzhhorod airport for the flights’ operation.
Another extremely important project for the development of aviation connections is the “Carpathian Small Aviation” project, within the framework of which a segment of small aircraft will be launched. We hope that we will sign the agreement and with the support of the European Union and together with partners from neighboring regions we will be able to develop the necessary infrastructure for small aircraft. It is necessary to create a school for pilots’ trainings. Based on the assessment of experts, it can be argued that the small aircraft segment is extremely relevant for Zakarpattia oblast. According to the statement of the President of Ukraine, as well as according to the recommendations of experts, it can be argued that the Uzhhorod airport should be a logistics hub for various types of transport links. I hope that this event will help to develop a design solution for all neighboring countries”.
Oszkár Seszták, President of the General Assembly of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, Hungary
Oszkár Seszták noted that the Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg Region is implementing several projects related to infrastructure, and the cooperation within the framework of the Modern Border Infrastructure – Successful Carpathian Region project is of particular importance for the Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg region.
5 years ago, a unique association “Tisza” was founded, since Ukraine was incorporated to it – not a member of the European Union. Also, a few years ago, the implementation of the “Little Europe” project took place, within which mobility was identified as a priority of cross-border cooperation. It is known that the competitiveness of a region is determined by the level of development of its infrastructure. The project “Modern Border Infrastructure – Successful Carpathian Region” is aimed at improving the infrastructure, the task of which is correlated with the strategy for the development of transport systems in Hungary: the continuation of the motorways to the borders and their connection with each other on a radial basis. Another area under this project is the development of a network of cycle paths and infrastructure for air traffic. In this aspect, it is important that the University of Nyíregyháza has been preparing pilots for civil aviation for years. Given the current situation in the world, in Europe and at the cross-border level, it is necessary to look for new solutions and overcome new challenges, for which such projects exist.
Ionel-Ovidiu Bogdan, President of the Maramureş County Council, congratulated the participants of the round table, and noted that Maramureş County, thanks to its cultural and historical heritage, is able to meet the requirements of the most demanding tourists and guests. Ionel-Ovidiu Bogdan determined that the development of infrastructure can significantly enhance the competitiveness of the region. Opportunities available for all types of tourism and extreme sports, in particular the wooden churches that belong to the UNESCO heritage, as well as 30 nature conservation areas.
Ionel-Ovidiu Bogdan noted the importance of the results of the work of experts and hopes for effective cooperation at the level of local governments, councils of border regions and the development of effective transport links.
Doru-Alexandru Lazăr, Vice President of the Maramureş County Council, stressed that the development of Maramureş Airport is of great importance for the region – work is currently underway to establish connections with neighboring airports. In fact, the main task is to enable travelers to quickly get to the airports of Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine from Maramureş airport.
Such opportunities should be discussed with specialists. Another point to be fulfilled is the development of a joint mobility plan with other partners for the long term, which will be of key importance for cross-border cooperation.
Cross-border cooperation remains a key factor in the development of communities in Maramureş County, and therefore deeper cooperation is needed in areas such as digitalization and environmental protection.
Rastislav Trnka, President of the Kosice Self-Governing Region, Slovakia, congratulated the participants of the roundtable and noted that Slovakia is in difficult conditions of quarantine. He expressed the hope that after recovering from the pandemic and in accordance with modern challenges, a sufficient number of instruments will be developed for effective cooperation in the field of infrastructure at the cross-border level thanks to the project “Modern Border Infrastructure – Successful Carpathian Region”. The development of effective connectivity between regions is an extremely important task that we can achieve through joint efforts and synchronized actions at the cross-border level.
Press-centre of the Association IARDI