Construction of Pan-European Transport Corridors in Western Balkans to Cost Some EUR 30 Bln
London, February 26 (BTA special correspondent Antoan Nikolov) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said here Monday that, according to estimates of the Western Balkan leaders, the construction of the pan-European transport corridors in the region will cost around 30 billion euro and the construction of digital infrastructure, some additional 5 billion euro. He was speaking at the opening of the 3rd Western Balkans Investment Summit of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Borissov specified that the main pan-European corridors in the summit's focus are corridors IV, VIII and X.
"The plan we are proposing is extremely advantageous for each country [in the Western Balkans]. When these transport corridors are ready, every single capital will be accessible by a train line and motorway and, respectively, Internet," Borissov said. He specified that all projects will be presented at a meeting of the Western Balkan leaders with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Sofia on March 1. At the meeting each of the six leaders will say what parts of these projects have already been implemented, how much funding is needed for the remaining parts' completion, and who will finance what, Borissov added. In his words, it is realistic to have the corridors completed within 7 to 8 years.
Borissov discussed the construction of pan-European corridors IV, VIII and X also with EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti. At their meeting, the Bulgarian Prime Minister underscored the importance of infrastructure connectivity between the Western Balkan countries and the other European states as a condition for the entire continent's successful development. In his words, the development of the region's economic potential and prosperity, which is necessary for a stable and secure Europe, requires connectivity both between the Western Balkan countries and between them and the neighbouring EU Member States. The region needs additional investment, jobs, and good trans-border cooperation aimed at improving people's lives, Borissov added. This will be the key topic of the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia on May 17, he specified.
Borissov praised the EBRD's activity in the region, saying that the Bank is one of the biggest investors in the Balkans and plays an important role in the agreements on the cross-border infrastructure projects with the purpose of increasing trade and competitiveness.