After the signing of the Washington agreement, the pro-government media in Serbia cannot stop reporting about millions of dollars that the infrastructure projects implemented by the American Development Agency (DFC) in Serbia will bring to the country.
Construction, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Zorana Mihajlović foresees American investments of at least 3.7 billion euro in the motorway and railroad stretching from Niš to Merdare. However, very few media outlets have mentioned that the investments in those projects have already been partially decided by the European Union and the Niš-Priština motorway will be built with European, not American, money.
Apparently, the Americans have not only won a diplomatic victory over the European Union, but also intend to take over the plans stipulated in the Berlin agreement, such as the construction of the motorway from Albania through Kosovo to Niš.
he Union has already given 40 million euro as a grant for the Niš-Pločnik motorway section, and the European Investment Bank has provided a loan of 100 million euro, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is expected to give almost the same amount of money. However, that’s enough money only for one 33-kilometre stretch of the motorway and that’s where the Americans would come in.
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“We will continue to speak with the US Development Agency in the future. I have to underline that the DFC can invest up to $ 60 billion abroad, and that no American agency has had such an opportunity so far, “said Minister Zorana Mihajlović.
The Americans could finance the construction of the entire motorway leading to Kosovo, as well as provide the money for the fast railroad from Niš to Priština, which will take 3.7 billion euro or just over 4 billion dollars to build.
However, the editor-in-chief of NIN weekly and the economics journalist, Milan Ćulibrk, warns that the DFC’s money is not a gift, but an additional debt that Serbia will have to repay.
“I’m afraid that if those 4-5 billion are spent here, they’ll come with an interest. Will those railways and roads be economically viable? How many cars a day would have to pass through these motorways to cover the construction expenses? I fear that, in the end, the Serbian citizens will be the ones to bear these expenses, ”says Ćulibrk.
For Ćulibrk, the key question is whether the American Development Agency, which representatives are due to arrive in Belgrade soon, will only do the job of granting a loan or will dictate which company will implement these projects.
This post is also available in: Italiano