Inspirational changes for a better Europe
EU CONNECTEDInspirational changes for a better Europe
After 303 years, the extreme south of Croatia will be connected to the mother country.
Mayor of Dubrovnik Mato Franković
A HISTORIC MOMENT FOR CROATIA
Last week, the long-lasting Croatian dream finally became reality: the country’s territory got connected once again.
Because the Croatian mainland is intersected by a small strip of the coast around the town of Neum (Bosnia and Herzegovina), the physical connection of the southernmost part of Dalmatia with the rest of Croatia was limited to Croatian territorial waters.
The construction of the bridge was firstly proposed in 1997, and the construction works even officially commenced in November 2005. However, in the next five years, only 3% of the required work was completed. In 2013 when Croatia joined the European Union, the possibility of a co-financed construction finally opened.
In 2015, EUR 330 million was approved from the Croatian Union Fund to finance 85% of construction costs. The tender was announced in 2017 and the Chinese company China Road and Bridge Corporation won it in April 2018 with a bid of 2 billion Kuna with the construction period of 36 months.
On July 28, at 11 pm, the last segment of the steel span structure of the Pelješac Bridge got installed, which now connects the mainland from Komarna with Brijesta on the Pelješac peninsula, making this date one of the most important ones for Croatia when talking about transport infrastructure. The ceremony was attended, among others, by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, the Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković and President of the Management Board of Croatian Roads, Josip Škorić.
Mayor of Dubrovnik Mato Franković stated: ”After 303 years, the extreme south of Croatia will be connected to the mother country, and we, the inhabitants of this part of Croatia, will cease to be second-class citizens waiting in a column at the border crossing for transit from one part to another”.
Photo credit Tom Dubravec / CROPIX
City of the month
Copenhagen is recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world. As a result of its commitment to high environmental standards, Copenhagen has been praised for its green economy, ranked as the top green city for the second time in the 2014 Global Green Economy Index (GGEI).
In 2001, a large offshore wind farm was built just off the coast of Copenhagen at Middelgrunden. It produces about 4% of the city’s energy. Years of substantial investment in sewage treatment have improved water quality in the harbour to an extent that the inner harbour can be used for swimming with facilities at a number of locations. Copenhagen aims to be carbon-neutral by 2025. Commercial and residential buildings are to reduce electricity consumption by 20 percent and 10 percent respectively, and total heat consumption is to fall by 20 percent by 2025. Renewable energy features such as solar panels are becoming increasingly common in the newest buildings in Copenhagen. District heating will be carbon-neutral by 2025, by waste incineration and biomass. New buildings must now be constructed according to Low Energy Class ratings and in 2020 near net-zero energy buildings. By 2025, 75% of trips should be made on foot, by bike, or by using public transit. The city plans that 20–30% of cars will run on electricity or biofuel by 2025. The investment is estimated at $472 million public funds and $4.78 billion private funds.
The city’s urban planning authorities continue to take full account of these priorities. Special attention is given both to climate issues and efforts to ensure maximum application of low-energy standards. Priorities include sustainable drainage systems, recycling rainwater, green roofs and efficient waste management solutions. In city planning, streets and squares are to be designed to encourage cycling and walking rather than driving. Furthermore, the city administration is working with smart city initiatives to improve how data and technology can be used to implement new solutions that support the transition toward a carbon-neutral economy. These solutions support operations covered by the city administration to improve e.g. public health, district heating, urban mobility and waste management systems. Smart city operations in Copenhagen are maintained by Copenhagen Solutions Lab, the city’s official smart-city development unit under the Technical and Environmental Administration.