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Balkans: summit in Serbia on rail network development

The EU train passing through 26 countries arrived in Belgrade

13 September, 15:52
(ANSA) - BELGRADE, SEP 13 - The development of rail transport and the modernization of the entire rail network in the Western Balkans are the crucial issues of a regional summit that opened today in Belgrade. On occasion, the 'Connecting Europe Expresstrian,' a convoy that crosses 26 European countries and results from an EU initiative to celebrate the European Year of Railways 2021, arrived in the Serbian capital.

Opening the summit, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stressed her government's commitment to developing rail transport, with over 6 billion euros. The objective, he said, is to modernize the country's rail network to connect it quickly and efficiently with all other countries in the region and the European Union.

Since 2014, she underlined, Serbia has invested more than 600 million euros. The participants were addressed in a video message by EU Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi, who stressed the EU's determination to support the Western Balkans in developing and modernizing the railway network. The Commissioner referred to the program for the infrastructure development of the Balkan region - the Economic Investment Plan for the Western Balkans - which is worth about 30 billion euros and approved in the past months by the EU Commission. As a result, the rail network in Serbia and the rest of the region is obsolete. However, an agreement for constructing a fast train line between Belgrade and Budapest has been concluded in recent months with the participation of Chinese companies. At the same time, the EU will participate in constructing a high-speed rail line between Belgrade and Nis (south) up to the Macedonian border. The EU Commission organized the summit in Belgrade in collaboration with the Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). Belgrade is home to the Secretariat for Transport in the Western Balkans. (ANSA).

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