The Government of Serbia and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed an agreement on the allocation of non-refundable 174.6 million euros, i.e. the second tranche of a European grant totaling 600 million euros for the construction of a high-speed railway from Belgrade to Niš.
The document was signed by the Vice President of the European Investment Bank Liliana Pavlova, the Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Goran Vesić, the Minister for European Integration Tanja Miščević, as well as the General Director of the Railway Infrastructure of Serbia Nebojša Šurlan, in the presence of Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and the head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret.
A grant of 265 million euros was previously awarded for this key infrastructure project in Serbia.
EIB Vice-President Pavlova, in charge of the Western Balkans, pointed out that it is about supporting the realization of a key strategic investment.
“In one month, we have already signed two grants for this important project. This proves the commitment of the EU and its institutions to the construction of a new, improved railway section between two key cities in Serbia, connecting the country with the region and further with the EU, because this section is part of the pan-European railway Corridor 10. By mobilizing significant financial and technical assistance within Team Europe, we want to help Serbia integrate into European railway networks and provide multimodal transport options for the benefit of its citizens, the environment and the economy,” said Pavlova and added:
“We believe that investing in a new, modern, high-speed railway, which will pollute less, is of key importance for Serbia, the region and the EU. It will enable better connections between the people of the region and better opportunities for transporting goods”.
The vice-president of the European Investment Bank reminded that this bank has been extremely active in the Western Balkans for years and has so far secured 7.2 billion euros, supporting the region’s economy. She announced that the expansion of cooperation will continue.
In this regard, the head of the EU Delegation, Emanuele Giaufret, reminded that the investment in the mentioned railway is a large program supported by the EU, and that its value is over one billion euros.
“The new EU-funded railway changes the reality on the ground in a positive way and leads us to a new future. While currently it takes almost a whole working day to travel from Belgrade to Niš, when the project is completed it will only take an hour and 40 minutes. During this time, you can watch a nice movie while you travel. This project enables a future in which people are closer, better connected within Serbia, but also in Europe and the region. This new railway will create many new jobs and stimulate economic growth,” said Giaufret.
Prime Minister Brnabić expressed great gratitude to the partners from the European Investment Bank for supporting the strategic goal of joining the European Union, as well as supporting the economic growth and productivity of Serbia by providing the necessary funds for various infrastructure projects of regional importance.
Source and photo: europa.rs