The Serbian government spends billions of euros of state money on building motorways. The spending would not be questionable if the construction of a kilometre of road in Serbia did not cost at least twice as much as a road of equal length in Europe.
A further problem lies with the fact that there is no public supervision and transparency for major infrastructure investments, and this is due to the government signing interstate agreements instead of launching tender procedures.
China, Russia, America, Turkey, Azerbaijan, France… The list of countries with which Serbia has signed inter-state agreements for construction of road and rail corridors and subways is long. By concluding such agreements, the state avoids having to do direct business with companies from those countries. This means that there is no bidding process in order to get the best price for the job.
The Novi Sad-Ruma road segment (a part of the so-called Fruška Gora corridor) is just one example of this. According to experts, this is a relatively easy segment to build, only 48 kilometres long. The construction work on this corridor was given to the Chinese company CRBS through the process of direct negotiation, at the incredible price of 606 million euros. This means that 1 kilometre of this road will cost an incredible 12.5 million euros to build.
If we compare this cost with the EUR 9 million for one kilometre of the 670-kilometre-long of the Greek Egnatia Odos motorway, which has 76 tunnels and 1,650 bridges, it is clear how unrealistic the price that the Serbian government had agreed with the Chinese is.
The director of the Institute for European Affairs, Naim Leo Beširi, says that not even some of the most difficult sections to build in Europe cost as much as the Fruška Gora Corridor was agreed, and cites Norway as an example.
“Their motorway, which is built both on land and underwater, costs five to six times less than a kilometre of the corridor that the Chinese will build in Serbia. This information is public, transparent and anyone check it,” Beširi adds.
Prices in Serbia
Fruška Gora Corridor
48 km long / 606 million euros to build
12.5 million euros for 1 km
112 km / 800 million euros to build
7.2 million euros per 1 km
Belgrade – Surčin road
7.9 km / 70.9 million euro to build
8.9 million euros per 1 km
270 km / 2.6 billion euros to build
9.8 million euros per 1 km
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