EuroVelo 13 Projects Close With a Well-Attended Workshop in Brussels

To mark the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Mrs Katarzyna Sobierajska, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Poland, and the ECF hosted a joint EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail workshop in the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the EU on Wednesday 7th December.

The workshop combined the three EuroVelo 13 Projects that had been undertaken over the past year with support from DG ENTR. The IronCurtainTrail-EV13-North Project had looked at the northern section of the route and had included partners from Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. The ICT-Central Project had covered the central section and was made up of partners from Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria. Finally, the southern section had be the focus of the BalkanVeloTrail–BVT-13 Project, which had partners from Romania, Bulgaria and Greece.

Mrs Sobierajska opened the workshop and had earlier described the EuroVelo network as “an excellent instrument for promoting cycling as an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable means of transport, and provides excellent infrastructure for active pro-environmental recreation.”

Andrzej B. Piotrowicz, Chief Executive of the PSWE (PO) introduced the projects and explained the importance of EuroVelo 13 – the Iron Curtain Trail, as a flagship development project. Daniel Mourek, International Greenways Coordinator for Nadace Partnerskvi (CZ), then spoke about the significance of the route as a reminder of our collective past, as well as a symbol of a now united Europe.

Adam Bodor, ECF EuroVelo Manager, summarised the findings of the Transnational Action Plan. It has been calculated that the total route length of EuroVelo 13 is 9.518km (4.827km North, 2.179 km Central, 2.511 km South), including “non-EU” countries, which were excluded from the current projects. In all, 7.642 km had been studied as part of these projects, of which only 761 km (242 km North, 180 km Central, 338 km South) was considered to be in an ‘inappropriate’ condition at the present time (e.g. involved busy roads, poor surface conditions). These sections will obviously be a focus for future work on this route. Indeed, it was estimated that €191 million was required to ensure that the route was fully completed by 2020, when the ECF hopes that the whole EuroVelo network will be finished. It was acknowledged that it will be important to ensure that the partners are able to apply for further European resources to encourage more co-financing at the national, regional and local level and from private sources!

The afternoon ended with a rousing speech from Michael Cramer MEP – the father of the Iron Curtain Trail – who encouraged everyone to build on the successes of the past year and ensure that the route realises its potential.

The well-attended workshop was a suitable end to what has been a busy year for the project partners. Thanks to grants from DG ENTR, they had been able to prepare action plans and a strategy for the route, both of which will be available to view from this website shortly.

Some of the materials related to the workshop can be viewed below.

EV13 Workshop Programme

The presentations from the workshop can be viewed below.

Introduction to the Iron Curtain Trail – Andrzej B. Piotrowicz, Chief Executive of the PSW

Transnational Action Plan – Adam Bodor, ECF EuroVelo Manager