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Second EU Grant Accelerates Belgrade-Niš Railway Corridor X Modernization

Second EU Grant Accelerates Belgrade-Niš Railway Corridor X Modernization
photo: EIB/Second EU Grant Accelerates Belgrade-Niš Railway Corridor X Modernization
12 / 04 / 2023

A second EU grant for the Belgrade - Niš section of the Railway Corridor X has been signed in Belgrade. This contract between the government and the European Investment Bank (EIB) issuing a grant of 175 million euros is part of an EU financial package with a total of 600 million euros for the modernisation of the railway from Belgrade to Niš.

According to EIB Vice-President Pavlova, the project is crucial for regional and EU integration, as well as the need for multimodal transportation options for the benefit of Serbia’s people, environment and economy. Minister of European Integration Tanja Miščević remarked that this grant would ensure safer passenger traffic in Serbia, shorten train journeys, enable faster transportation of goods and reduce the cost of maintaining railway infrastructure.

The first grant for the Western Balkans investment framework was signed in February of this year, for 82.8 million euros, enabling 230 km of railway upgrade and modernisation with speeds up to 200 km/h between Belgrade and Niš increasing trade flows and stimulating economic growth along the route. With just one month apart, the second grant will be used for the subsection Paraćin – Trupale – Međurovo rail route, part of an EU financial package totalling €2.2 billion for the Belgrade – Niš section of the Railway Corridor X.

The signing ceremony was attended by Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, Minister for European Integration Tanja Miščević, Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Goran Vesić and EU Ambassador to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret and representatives of Serbian Railways.

Lilyana Pavlova, explained, “As of today, we have already signed two grants for this important project within a single month. This proves the commitment of the European Union and its institutions to delivering new, upgraded railways between two pivotal cities in Serbia, linking the country to the region — and further to the European Union, as this route is part of the pan-European Railway Corridor X. By mobilising extensive financial and technical assistance within Team Europe, we want to help Serbia integrate into other European rail networks and provide multimodal transportation options for the benefit of its people, environment and economy.”

Ana Brnabić added, “We are truly grateful to our partners from the EIB for supporting our strategic goal, which is EU integration, and for supporting Serbia’s economic growth and productivity by providing the necessary funds for various infrastructure projects with regional impact. The Belgrade – Niš railway section is just such a project, as is the Paraćin – Međurovo subsection for which the investment grant was signed today. Its construction will facilitate travel for people in Serbia and better connection with the region.”

The grant is part of an EU financial package of €2.2 billion to modernise Belgrade. The package also includes a EUR 1.1 billion EIB loan and a EUR 550 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. As stated by Goran Vesić, this section will be a priority for the country going forward.

Emanuele Giaufret explained, “The new EU-financed railway changes realities on the ground in a positive way and leads us to a new future. While it currently takes almost a whole working day to travel from Belgrade to Niš, once the project is finished, it will take only one hour and 40 minutes. It is the time it might take to watch a nice film on the way. This project enables a future in which people are better and more closely connected within Serbia, but also within Europe and the region. This new railway will also create many new jobs and stimulate economic growth.”

For over ten years, the EIB was the primary financier of strategic railway routes in the Western Balkans and has invested over €1.2 billion in the region’s rail sector, supporting regional cooperation and connectivity. These funds have helped to construct or upgrade almost 2 000 km of tracks and 304 stations.