Diary entryDiary entry
Core Team_ bread.jpg
A warm welcome of bread and honey
Bulgarian folk dancing Danube-style
Danube stakeholders workshop in Ruse
Students from the Ruse Technical University take an Argus tour
JDS2 Core Team tour the Bulgarian countryside
Admiring the frescoes of St. Arhangel Michail monastary
Location map

A day on Bulgarian soilA day on Bulgarian soil

Location: Ruse, Bulgaria
On the morning of the 19th at the main harbour of Ruse, the JDS2 team was welcomed to Bulgarian land by an official delegation. It was headed by Ms. Lubka Katchakova - Deputy Minister of Environment and Water and Head of the Bulgarian Delegation to the ICPDR, Ms. Maria Dimova - the Governor of Ruse District, and the ICPDR's Philip Weller. Alongside opening speeches, the event was also marked by a traditional offering by children of bread and honey to the team and live folk music.

Tours of the ships were then given to the delegation and Bulgarian journalists (which included the country's top newspapers and TV stations). A group of students from the Technical University in Ruse studying ‘Ecology and Environmental Protection' also had a presentation of activities on-board the Argus.

At 10:30, a workshop was held at the Ruse Regional Administration building in the city centre for the JDS2 team, Mr. Weller, government and ministry officials and experts, representatives from district and local authorities, businesses and NGOs. The workshop included a presentation of the main activities of the Danube River Basin Directorate in Bulgaria for the protection of the Danube River by its Director, Ms. Tzvetanka Dimitrova. Also included were presentations about the ICPDR and the goals and preliminary results of the JDS2.

An inspiring addition to the workshop was Anna Stiina Heiskanen from the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy. Ms. Heiskanen had joined the boats two days earlier, in part to see how activities were progressing that related to the JRC's objectives - for example, the JRC financially supports the JDS2 Fish Survey. During the workshop, she noted the great enthusiasm with which her colleagues in Ispra were waiting for the JDS2 results and her satisfaction with the efforts done so far. She also praised the usefulness of the JDS2 in helping the Danube countries to implement the EU Water Framework Directive and create common criteria for defining ‘good ecological status'.  

The workshop was followed by a well-attended press conference and lunch which included gifts of wine to the JDS2 Core Team members from the local organizers. After lunch, the team enjoyed a visit to the monastery of St. Arhangel Michail in the nearby village of Ivanovo, famous as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its stone architecture, unique frescoes and silent monks. Then it was free time in Ruse!

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