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Western-Balkan railways: What are the plans to improve infrastructure connections?

Western-Balkan railways: What are the plans to improve infrastructure connections?
photo: Zakonjsek and Nikolay Sabev
10 / 03 / 2022

Director of the Transport Community Permanent Secretariat EU Matej Zakonjsek met with the Minister of Transport and Communications of Bulgaria Nikolay Sabev for discussions on how to improve connectivity between Bulgaria and the Western Balkans. The meeting was held on March 7th in Sofia.

“It was my pleasure to meet with Minister Sabev to discuss Bulgaria’s constructive role for improved connectivity in the Western Balkans and the support that Transport Community can provide in this process. The last two EU-WB6 summits brought positive impetus and a new perspective for better connectivity between the EU and its immediate neighbors, especially North Macedonia and Serbia. Bulgaria’s role in this process is essential,” Zakonjsek said.

The involved parties talked about the Rail Corridor VIII and X. Corridor VIII, connecting Skopje and the Bulgarian border by rail have been one of the key projects of the European Commission’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. It is an essential east-west route, that would connect the Albanian Adriatic port of Durres to the port of Varna via North Macedonia. Corridor X, the planned route from Serbia to Bulgaria and one-stop rail border crossing in Dimitrovgrad will reduce border waiting time by 50%.

“Transport Community will continue supporting the establishment of joint border crossings in the region as the most efficient way to reduce waiting times and remove congestions. Investments in infrastructure are important, but in order to improve connectivity and integrate the Western Balkans transport markets into the EU, we must solve congestions on borders. The best way to do this is by extending the concept of Green Lanes from the Western Balkans to borders with the EU, including border crossings between Bulgaria and North Macedonia and Serbia,” Zakonjsek said.

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