The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union are stepping up their support for connectivity projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina via a 204 million euro support package to develop the highway network along the Bosnian section of the pan-European Corridor Vc, a key road connection between Hungary, eastern Croatia and the port of Ploce on the Adriatic Sea.
The EIB announced on February 27 that it is lending 140 million euros for the construction of a 12.4-kilometre section of the motorway that will include four viaducts, two twin-tube tunnels, three bridges, and an operation and traffic control centre.
The EU will complement the financing with a 64 million euro grant.
The investment is designed to contribute to faster economic and social development of the country by creating a quicker, safer and more reliable long-distance transport link with Croatia, one of the country`s key export markets.
Corridor Vc is part of the extended TEN-T Mediterranean core road network and the South East Europe Transport Observatory (SEETO). Around 335 kilometres of the 702-kilometre road network are located in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Finance Minister Vjekoslav Bevanda and the EIB’s Matteo Rivellini, head of division for lending operations in Croatia, Slovenia and the Western Balkans, signed the finance agreement on February 27 in Sarajevo, with Ambassador Johann Sattler, the head of the EU delegation and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, attending the ceremony.
“This investment will have a positive economic impact beyond Bosnia and Herzegovina, and will benefit citizens and businesses in Croatia, Hungary and the Western Balkans”, said Dario Scannapieco, EIB vice-president.
“The EIB investment complements the joint efforts by the EU, the EBRD and Bosnia and Herzegovina to complete the Corridor Vc motorway”, added Ambassador Sattler. “I am pleased that Bosnia and Herzegovina has secured financing for additional sections of Corridor Vc because modern transport links are key for growth and the economic development of any country aspiring to join the European Union.”
To date, the EIB has invested 1.2 billion euros in transport projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, bringing total investment across the country to more than 2.6 billion euros delivered in 72 different projects.
Improved infrastructure and economic development in the Western Balkans has become a priority for the EU, even though the process of countries becoming EU member states is moving very slowly. In the meantime, stronger engagement with these countries, and funding for new infrastructure is viewed as important at a time when China is gaining influence via its Belt & Road Initiative.