EU is offering money for railroads, North Macedonia’s government opts for roads


The European Commission in its Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans concerning North Macedonia  stresses that it will finance building of new railroad infrastructure and reconstruction of the existing one. In the financial package in the amount of €9 billion that will be available for the Western Balkans countries through the IPA III funds, including additional grants and loans that will be granted in the forthcoming years, the European Commission clearly stresses that a priority is to connect the East and the West and the North and the South of the Western Balkans.

The financing of the railroad part of the Corridor 8 between Skopje and the Bulgarian border with the assets provided by the EU, which will link by train the two capital cities Skopje and Sofia is presented as prime orientation. In addition, the Economic and Investment Plan of the EC mentions the upgrade of the existing railroad connection from Nish to the Serbian-Macedonian border, but also the railroad re-connection of Belgrade and Prishtina. This will put into use the railroad track at this part of Corridor 10 that will allow us from Skopje via Prishtina and the central part of Serbia to connect with Belgrade.

The published document mentions North Macedonia only about the projects for building and reconstruction of the railroad infrastructure, even though for years our authorities have been giving emphasis on building new roads. Last week Prime Minister Zaev had a joint press conference with EU Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi and said that he is pleased that the list of national projects has been accepted, as he mentioned the upgrade of the road and railroad infrastructure in Corridor 8. Still, the in the parts of EC’s Economic and Investment Plan that refer to Macedonia it is nowhere stated that projects about road infrastructure will be supported.

Otherwise, apart from last week’s arrival of EU Commissioner Várhelyi in Skopje with the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, he also submitted at the Government the report about North Macedonia’s advancement for 2020 prepared by the European Commission. In the report’s chapter about Trans-European network and the European TEN-T network, it is stated that no advancement has been made concerning finishing the sector reforms and that the recommendations from 2019’s Report regarding the chapter on the transport connections remain valid even today.

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