The FINANCIAL -- The EBRD is making a loan of up to €145 million to finance the modernisation of railway infrastructure in FYR Macedonia and to strengthen the country’s regional transport links. The modernisation of transport infrastructure is one of the EBRD’s key priorities in d the Western Balkans, helping to improve trade routes within the region, deepen market integration and develop stronger cross-border cooperation. This sovereign loan to the Macedonian Public Enterprise for Railway Infrastructure provides funding to upgrade the second phase of the eastern section of the Pan-European Corridor VIII, according to EBRD.
It will allow completion of a key east‐west 34 km section of the rail corridor, which will ultimately link the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria to the Adriatic coast in Albania, as well as Turkey. The total cost of the project is €600 million.
Under this project, the EBRD will also facilitate cross-border agreements with Serbia and Kosovo, which will formalise and simplify border crossing procedures throughout the region. This will help increase the transfer of freight to rail on these routes by at least 20 per cent, with the potential for more as service levels improve.
This project benefits from significant donor support with funding provided under the Western Balkans Investment Framework for project design and tender preparation. Separately, Central European Initiative funding will be available to support project implementation.
“We are proud to be supporting further reform of the Macedonian railway sector. Through its previous projects, the Bank has developed close relationships with the key stakeholders and is well placed to support project delivery and engage in successful policy dialogue with the government on sector reform. The value of this EBRD project extends not only to Macedonia but also to the region,” said Sue Barrett Director Transport, at EBRD.
“The project will help integrate Macedonia’s infrastructure further with its neighbours, boosting the regional economy. The transport corridor will ultimately link the Black Sea in Bulgaria with the Adriatic Sea in Albania. EBRD is willing to continue supporting the main strategic priorities of the country in close co-operation and alignment with the Government”, said Biljana Milosheska, Senior Banker at EBRD.
“Construction of Corridor VIII Rail brings multiple political and economic values. It is a good opportunity to establish a bridge between the West and the East, and hence when the construction of the whole railway tracks is completed, traveling by land from Skopje to Istanbul will take an hour and a half less. This is a major project for the country, as it helps to build sustainable economic growth generated through cross-border trading. This agreement is an important step in our cooperation with the EBRD”, said Zoran Stavreski Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance.