it’s danube day on 29th june 2004 …
10 years of cooperation: “down the drain – thanks to the ukraine?
Satellite picture of the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta. The northern branch of the Danube was formerly used for navigation, the central branch (Bystro/Bystroye) cuts straight through the core zone of the Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site, the southern branch marks the border with Romania.
ALL IS NOT LOST IN THE DANUBE DELTA
The EU and the Ukraine meet regularly to discuss matters of mutual interest with particular emphasis on the special neighbourhood status governing their relations in a number of matters. The next meeting is to be held in The Hague on 8th July. The Ukraine already attracts EU-funding and hopes eventually to gain significant economic and structural advantages from this agreement.
EU External Affairs and Environment Commissioners Chris Patten and Margot Wallström have been lobbied on the issue. Patten has stated his intention to raise the matter at the meeting if the Ukraine do not get a satisfactory reply to a letter sent by Wallström earlier this year. It is important that the Bystroye channel option through the core area of the Biosphere reserve is mainstreamed at this meeting. In the best case this may result in the dredging work which has already started being halted and an independent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) being carried out before further damage is done.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Support for the Ukrainian conservationists would have a particular impact if letters and mails land on the desks of EU commissioners and MEPs on or by DANUBE DAY, Tuesday 29th June 2004. This marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Danube convention by its bordering states. The countries of the Danube basin (Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Serbia-Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Moldova, Romania and the Ukraine) have planned a series of events on the theme of the Danube bridge to the future. Take advantage of the break in the European Football Championship to swap the TV screen for the computer monitor and do your bit!
A draft text is supplied below, but it will suffice to send a mail with the subject:
DANUBE DAY 29th JUNE DONT DESTROY THE DELTA
and a text such as:
Dear Commissioner (or MEPs name),
Stop the unilateral and irreversible destruction of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve by the Ukraine. No more EU funding of an irresponsible regime. Tell the Ukraine on 8th July to mend their ways or forget their European ambitions.
Name and address
CLICK FOR DIRECT MAIL FORM
email addresses in clear:
Guenter.Verheugen@cec.eu.int, Margot.Wallstrom@cec.eu.int, Patrick.Rock@cec.eu.int (Mr. Patten’s assistant for environmental matters – the standard EU address for Chris Patten, unlike the other commissioners, is invalid!)
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
… and if you have time mail your local MEP as well:
Draft Text (or use your own words or language)
DANUBE DAY 29th JUNE – DON’T DESTROY THE DELTA
By electronic mail to:
Commissioner Chris Patten
Commissioner Gunther Verheugen
Commissioner Margot Wallström
You are well briefed on the start of construction of a shipping channel by the Ukrainian government through the most sensitive part of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, with its attendant severe and irreversible environmental, natural and economic consequences for the local inhabitants and the valuable flora and fauna resources.
On 29th June the Danube Basin nations celebrate 10 years of joint investment in the environmental future of the largest most important waterway in Western Europe. It is unbelievable that a single state should presume to endanger this achievement, and most critically in perhaps the most sensitive part of the Danubes course, against all internal and external advice and opposition.
It is essential that this issue be tabled and discussed as a major agenda item at the next regular EU-Ukraine meeting on 7th July in The Hague. Further funding of the Ukraine by the EU, and special treatment under a neighbourhood agreement, must be dependent on the Ukraine displaying clearly their intention to integrate into, and harmonise with, the environmental and other policies of the European Union.
In the conviction that you will play your part in influencing a construction stop in the Danube Delta and the initiation of an independent EIA we remain,
(Name and address)