Bulgarian Minister of Transport, Rossen Jeliazkov, has recently announced that Western Balkans region needs EUR 20.6 billion to modernise the Trans-European Transport Network across the six countries.
The railway projects that will improve connectivity on the East-West axis, involving Sofia’s connections to the Western Balkan countries, include the modernization of railway lines from Sofia to the borders with Serbia and Northern Macedonia.
The minister said that developing an efficient transport network in Europe and neighboring regions requires not only huge financial resources but also good coordination, uniform standards and procedures. “Therefore, it is important to build the missing sections of the common corridors in the Western Balkans and to modernize the existing routes,” Jeliazkov explained.
To implement the projects, national budgets are not able to cover such investment and it is expected that the European Union will support the construction of transport infrastructure in the Balkan region.
The minister said that many initiatives at European and intergovernmental level had been taken in recent years, reflecting the ambition of the European Commission and the countries to develop the transport sector in the Western Balkans. Alps-Western Balkans freight corridor, connecting five countries – Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria, and Bulgaria’s proposal to include the country’s links with Serbia and Northern Macedonia in the priority corridor of the main Trans-European Network – Orient / Eastern-Mediterranean are among the important transport projects that the European Commission is supporting.
“The adherence of these sections to the corridor would be confirmed in the new Connecting Europe Facility after 2021,” Jeliazkov concluded.