EU Gives A $647mn Thrust For A Fast Serbian Railway Line

The European Union granted Serbia 610 million euros, equivalent to $647.15 million, on February 28, 2023, for the development of a fast railway route connecting southern Serbia to central Europe.

The funding was signed symbolically in a train in the presence of EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, who said the agreement demonstrated that the European Union was following through on its promise to support the economies of the Western Balkans region.

The 208-kilometer route will link Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, to the southern town of Nis. The project’s total cost is anticipated to be 2.7 billion euros.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated that the EU grant was the largest ever granted to Serbia, which had previously received 420 million euros in EU funds.

Vucic remarked that the EU is now offering them a present of 610 million euros. He also went on to add that because of the new train route, travelers from Nis would be able to reach Budapest, Hungary, in under five hours.

Vucic stated that Serbia will contribute 525 million euros to the project and will seek loans from the EIB as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, totaling 1.1 billion euros and 550 million euros, respectively.

A day after Vucic returned from Brussels, where he participated in negotiations on a pact sponsored by the West that aims to normalize relations between Serbia and its former province of Kosovo, Varhelyi came to Belgrade for the signing ceremony.