Serbian Railways Infrastructure (Infrastruktura železnice Srbije) has launched three technical assistance projects in Belgrade on November 28, 2023, supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and donors.
The technical assistance package was launched in the presence of Nebojsa Surlan, Director General of Serbian Railways Infrastructure, Alessandro Bragonzi, Head of Regional Representation for the Western Balkans at the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Director for the Western Balkans, as well as representatives of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Serbia, the Transport Community, the Serbian Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, and the country’s Directorate for Railways.
The comprehensive programme aims at improving company’s corporate governance and operational performance.
The first technical assistance project aims to help Serbian Railways Infrastructure to improve its corporate governance, while the second project will help boost the company’s operational performance. The third technical assistance project will follow early in 2024 and it will focus on helping the railway sector to establish an independent market regulator and to integrate Serbia’s railways into the EU transport market.
“The modernisation of Serbia’s railway infrastructure is not enough to make the country’s transport system efficient, modern and organised. This is precisely why the package of technical assistance is extremely important for Serbia’s railway infrastructure. Based on the best examples of international practice, we will improve and strengthen the corporate governance, legal regulations and commercial operations of our company, as part of the comprehensive reform of the railway sector in Serbia,” said Nebojša Šurlan, Director General of Serbian Railways Infrastructure.
The technical assistance is financed by Italy, through the Central European Initiative, and the EBRD.
These projects follow the EUR 2.2 billion financial package jointly provided by the EBRD with an investment loan of EUR 550 million, the EU with an investment grant of EUR 598 million, and the EIB with an investment loan of EUR 1.1 billion for the modernisation of the 230 km high-speed rail link connecting Belgrade to Niš.
“We are pleased to join forces with our European partners to help Serbian Railways Infrastructure raise standards further in terms of governance and operations. Accelerating the switch from road to rail is a key priority for the EBRD. As part of that, we are also financing projects to renew rolling stock, rehabilitate railway tracks and modernise regional train depots, with the aim of making rail travel in Serbia faster, more comfortable and more reliable,” Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Director for the Western Balkans, said.