Reducing the costs of trade and improving the efficiency of transport in the Western Balkans, as well as the institutional, physical and operational modernisation of the railway sector, will contribute to faster economic integration within the region, but also testify to the clear prospects of EU accession
The unique pan-European transport infrastructure projects that integrate the projects of trans- European highways north-south (TEM) and trans-European railways (TER) actually bring together and connect EU member states, but also EU membership candidate countries.
All of the projects in the domain of transport infrastructure that are being implemented in or are planned by the Republic of Serbia aim to further the indicative expansion of the EU Transport Network to the region of the Western Balkans, and thus also to Serbia.
In accordance with the Economic and Investment Plan, and the accompanying Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, which was adopted by the European Commission in October 2020 and contains priority areas for investment, improvement and cooperation in the field of transport, from both a national and regional aspect, and from the aspect of EU accession, the Republic of Serbia is investing intensively in the construction, renovation and modernisation of railway infrastructure, the improvement of navigational flows on inland waterways, as well as the construction and maintenance of the road network.
These investments should contribute to achieving the goal of interconnecting capital cities, ports and economic centres within the region, and to the interconnecting of the region with the European Union, thus improving trade through more efficient transport services, improving traffic safety and reducing transport’s negative impact on the environment.
In order to illustrate the works being undertaken, the infrastructure projects that contribute to fulfilling the stated goals in the Republic of Serbia are all projects on the renovation of the railway segment of Corridor X, such as the project to modernise the railway line along the Belgrade-Novi Sad-Subotica-Hungarian border route, the modernisation of the Niš-Dimitrovgrad railway line and the reconstruction and modernisation of the railway along the Valjevo-Vrbnica-Montenegrin border route, but also projects aimed at improving navigation on the Danube, such as the project to conduct works on critical sections of the Danube and Sava rivers and the overhaul of the Đerdap I lock, as well as projects to construct and renovate roads that represent part of the indicative expansion of the basic Trans-European transport network to the Western Balkans: the construction of the highway from Niš to the Merdare administrative crossing and the construction of the Belgrade Bypass and the highway Belgrade- Požega-Boljare (Montenegrin border).
In the following five-year period, and with the help of the World Bank, significant financial resources will be invested in projects aimed at improving trade and transport in the Western Balkans, as well as in the railway modernisation project
Alongside the aforementioned projects, equal importance is given to investments in the development of multimodal transport solutions and the introduction of intelligent transport systems (ITS) that aim to ensure more efficient transport services and the reduction of CO2 emissions, but also to raise the level of traffic safety. The broad availability and use of information and communication technologies in public transport systems has the potential to make them “smarter”, with a reduced negative impact on the environment and adapted to cater to the needs of users.
In the following five-year period, and with the help of the World Bank, significant financial resources will be invested in projects aimed at improving trade and transport in the Western Balkans, as well as in the railway modernisation project. Reducing the costs of trade and improving the efficiency of transport in the Western Balkans, as well as the institutional, physical and operational modernisation of the railway sector, will contribute to faster economic integration within the region, but also testify to the clear prospects of EU accession.
The Republic of Serbia will implement its ambitious five-year investment plan for transport infrastructure, with a total of around nine billion euros, in a sustainable manner and in accordance with the EU’s guidelines for the development of transport networks.
Infrastructure projects represent just one aspect of work on improving the transport sector and raising the level of transport services and standards to the European level. The main activities and cooperation, both through projects financed from European Union funds and through regional cooperation within the Transport Community and EU macro-regional strategies for the Danube and Adriatic-Ionian region, aim to improve road safety and advance rail and water transport, as modes of transport that are favourable to the preservation of the environment. Within the scope of the aforementioned cooperation, priority topics are discussed and experiences are exchanged to ensure the improvement of the legislative and administrative framework, which – in addition to investments in infrastructure – will contribute to the development of the entire transport sector and raising it to the level of European and world standards.
By applying EU rules in the transport sector, and as part of the EU accession process, the Republic of Serbia will certainly follow the guidelines for the development of trans-European transport networks. The trans-European network acquis will be implemented through the strengthening of administrative capacities and the defining of clear transport policies and transport development strategies. Through the fostering of partnerships in the development and maintenance of the trans-European network in the region, infrastructure projects will represent both the backbone of connectivity and an invaluable platform for the exchange of knowhow and experience.