Serbia is soon to receive EU funding worth €600 million to reconstruct the Belgrade-Niš railway by 2029, making it the largest single grant Serbia has ever received from the EU.
The contract for the reconstruction of the Belgrade-Niš railway will cost €2.2 billion, of which about €600 million will come from an EU grant. Backing the construction financially is the European Investment Bank, which has approved a loan of €1.1 billion. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has, for its part, allocated €550 million, and part of the reconstruction will be financed from Serbia’s budget.
The reconstruction of 230 kilometres of the railway will be one of the most significant projects of that type in Serbia. It should be finished by 2029, and the trains are expected to travel at up to 200 kilometres per hour.
The Belgrade-Niš railway is part of the Transeuropean transport network, which is why it is in the EU’s interest to modernise it. Many routes leading to the European Union go through Serbia, and the part that will be reconstructed is considered to be the backbone of Serbia’s railway network and a key route in connecting Western Europe to the Western Balkans, and on to Greece and Turkey.
According to Liliana Pavlova, EIB vice-president for the Western Balkans, the EIB, through its special branch for non-EU affairs – EIB Global – invested 835.2 million euros in new projects in the Western Balkans in 2022. Of this, the largest part of funds – 619.5 million euros – was invested in improving transport (including infrastructure), supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in the amount of 150.4 million, water supply and water protection (50.5 million), education (8 .5 million), urban development (4.5 million) and energy (1.8 million).
(Biznis i Finansije, 27.02.2023)
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