Serbian rail development made yet another step forward with the European Investment Bank (EIB) having now signed off on the second tranche within a larger EUR 2.2. bln program to build a fast rail from Belgrade to Nis.
EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova noted the speed of the financing for the fast rail program.
“As of today, we have already signed two grants for this important project within a single month,” she said. “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,” Pavlova added.
EIB Global agreed to the second EU grant of EUR 174.6 mln for the subsection Paraćin-Trupale-Međurovo rail route, part of an EU financial package totalling EUR 2.2 bln for the Belgrade – Niš section of the Railway Corridor X, the EIB said through a press release.
The first grant under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (EUR 82.8 mln was signed in February 2023. The funds will enable the upgrade and modernisation of 230 km of railway. This will enable travel speeds of up to 200 km/h between Belgrade and Niš, increase trade flows and stimulate economic growth along the route, the press release added.
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, EU Ambassador to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret and representatives of Serbian Railways.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic also commented on the importance of the rail plan.
“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,” Brnabic said. “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 planned fast rail should enable Serbs to cut travel time from Belgrade to Nis from an all day affair to under two hours.
Photo of EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlovaby Caroline Martin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/igo/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons.