Western Alliance, an in initiative of four Western Romanian cities seem to be gaining momentum: less than a week after the mayors of Temesvár/Timișoara, Kolozsvár/Cluj, Nagyvárad/Oradea and Arad established the alliance, first Resicabánya/Reșița and most recently Déva/Deva announced their intention to join.
“There will certainly be benefits,” the mayor of Resicabánya, Ioan Popa said in an interview with Digi24 television. “Déva is a relatively small city with 70,000 inhabitants and by joining this larger group we will have easier access to European Union founds 2021-27 (budgetary) period.”
While its founders mostly avoided to point this out, the underlying reason for the alliance is the unequal redistribution of taxes collected locally. While all state dues collected in a city or county are transferred to the central budget, the more developed regions usually only get back less than half of it – typically around 40 percent.
The combined population of the four cities is just short of one million people (972,000), but with the addition of Resicabánya and Déva this brings the total to just over 1.1 million (1,107,000).
“By joining this, shall we say, select club, the citizens of Déva will directly benefit from the common infrastructural projects.”
Among the more ambitious projects announced at the meeting of the mayors is the construction of a motorway and a high-speed train line linking the four cities. In addition they also want to complete motorways linking Romania with neighboring Serbia and Hungary.