Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have signed a loan agreement worth EUR 180 million in funds to co-finance the construction of three new sections of the Corridor Vc motorway.
In addition to favourable credit lines offered by the EBRD and EIB, the EU is providing grants towards funding the largest infrastructure projects in the country, reminded the Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark.
“The European Union has so far committed over €100 million in EU grants for Corridor Vc in BiH, out of which today the part of this package is €11.8 million,” Ambassador Wigemark said, stressing that since the launch of the Connectivity Agenda in 2015, the European Union has been pledging grants to make the construction of Corridor Vc motorway project possible in order to connect BiH with its neighbours and other European countries.
During the Western Balkans Summits in Sofia and London, the EU committed to co-financing the construction of Ivan tunnel section of Corridor Vc through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), with grants worth EUR 11.8 million.
EBRD Director for Transport Sue Barrett said: “We are delighted to be signing this EUR 180 million loan with BiH today. The EU is our strategic partner in the development of Corridor Vc and we are pleased that the EU is expected to provide an investment grant of around EUR 12 million from the WBIF project. This motorway supports the increased connectivity of BiH with European markets and it is essential for the future and growth of the country. We are very excited about the fact that the projects target job training opportunities for young people in BiH during the construction phase.”
The BiH Minister of Finance and Treasury Vjekoslav Bevanda thanked the EU Delegation for the support provided to the implementation of projects that facilitate infrastructure construction, as well as the EBRD representatives who continually oversee the process of road construction. “This credit arrangement will be accompanied by EUR 11.8 million of grants for the construction of the Ivan tunnel, which is to be approved by the end of the year,” said Minister Bevanda.
The signing of today’s agreement is a concrete example of cooperation with the countries of the Western Balkans in order to improve transport networks and support close partnership and eventual membership of the European Union.
Under the Connectivity Agenda, the European Union has set aside up to EUR 1 billion in grants for the period of 2014-2020 through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) to co-finance mature energy projects from the PECIs list (Projects of the Energy Community Interest), and mature transport projects from the TEN-T (Trans-European Transport) Core Network, together with loans from international financial institutions.
So far, the EU has already committed 70% of the one billion Euro, providing concrete grant support to 31 infrastructure projects in the region. Through investing in Corridor Vc under the Connectivity Agenda, the objective is to improve key infrastructure links between Bosnia and Herzegovina and its neighbours across the Western Balkans and between the region and the EU.