EU bank contributes to completion of Serbia and Bulgaria motorway connection
The new motorway provides a modern, high-quality link between the Serbian cities of Nis and Dimitrovgrad, close to the Bulgarian border.
The final 22 km stretch of a new 87 km section of the Serbian E-80 motorway was inaugurated on Saturday. The new motorway provides a modern, high-quality link between the Serbian cities of Nis and Dimitrovgrad, close to the Bulgarian border. It passes through difficult terrain including the Sicevacka Gorge and required the construction of 87 bridges and five tunnels with state-of-the-art equipment.
Corridor X is part of the strategic pan-European transport infrastructure passing through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, North Macedonia, and Greece and has four branches, including Branch C: E-80 Nis (Serbia) – Sofia (Bulgaria). It is crucial to connecting the Western Balkans with the European Union.
EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova stated: "The EU bank has made a substantial contribution to the completion of the motorway connection between Serbia and Bulgaria. This is one of the most significant transport infrastructure projects Serbia has seen in recent years, and what I particularly welcome is its cross-border dimension. Corridor X helps to connect and integrate Balkan countries with the European Union, thereby having a positive impact on people's everyday lives via increased economic growth, transport safety, and capacity."
President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic commented: "We will continue building without interruption in order for this country to be better, to have more jobs, more workers, more investments, so that the investment cycle in the economic growth be completed, and that we can say, very quickly, that we have created the most beautiful country in the Balkans".
Prime Minister of Bulgaria Borisov stated: "Thank you for this honor and the opportunity you give me. On the day we can say, like the Germans, that the Berlin Wall has fallen for us. As of today, Serbia has direct access to the ports of - Varna and Burgas and a direct link with no traffic light down to Istanbul, a safe and secure infrastructure. All Bulgarian industry is using this path for Western Europe. Today we connect Asia and Europe through Bulgaria and Serbia".
Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlović commented: "With the entire Road Corridor X open to traffic, Serbia has finally completed its largest infrastructure project in the last 50 years. With the completion of a highway up to the borders with North Macedonia and Bulgaria, Serbia has returned to the transport map of Europe as the country offering the shortest route connecting Central Europe to the Middle East. The experience gained during the construction of Corridor X will be invaluable in making all future projects faster and more efficient and in making Serbia a true transport hub in this part of Europe, not only in the road but also in other modes of transport."
The EIB provided a total of EUR 265m to the construction of the Corridor X Motorway. This is the second-largest public sector project the EU bank has financed in Serbia since 1977, following a EUR 314m loan financing the E-75 highway. The current project is a good example of the EIB's cooperation with the European Commission and other International Financial Institutions, as it has been co-financed by EU funds, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank as well as by the Serbian State budget.