The financing includes a €5 million loan from the EBRD and a €2.5 million EU investment grant.
Joint border operations will significantly reduce waiting time and improve crossing efficiency
Better rail connectivity will facilitate travel and trade in the region
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are helping to strengthen regional integration and connectivity in the Western Balkans by developing the first common rail border crossing between North Macedonia And Serbia.
The common border post will be established on the Corridor X railway route as part of the extension of the Trans-European transport network (TEN-T) to the Western Balkans region. The crossing will improve efficiency, reduce border wait times and make the movement of people and goods easier. The new facilities will be shared between staff from both countries, helping to optimize border and customs control procedures. This will in turn make operations between the different actors of the station faster and more efficient.
The project will be financed by a joint financial package, consisting of a loan of 5 million euros from the EBRD and a grant of 2.5 million euros provided by the EU through the Investment framework for the Western Balkans.
The investment includes the modernization of existing station buildings, the construction of new buildings and the purchase of equipment. The investment will also help improve energy efficiency through increased efficiency measures in buildings and the installation of photovoltaic panels.
Fatih Türkmenoğlu, EBRD Director for North Macedonia, said: “We are pleased to support the Ministry of Transport of North Macedonia in its efforts to improve the country’s railway infrastructure. Improving rail transport – a safer and greener mode of transport – will not only boost regional connectivity and open up new economic and business opportunities, but will also help solve the energy crisis. To date, the EBRD has allocated more than €250 million to North Macedonia’s railway sector and we are determined to see it improved and modernized.
David Geer, EU Ambassador to North Macedonia, said: “Thanks to a substantial investment by Team Europe, including a 2.5 million euro grant from the EU, rail passengers and freight transport Traveling between Serbia and North Macedonia will soon benefit from improved crossing facilities thanks to the creation of a single railway station and a common border crossing point. In practice, this should reduce the time needed to cross the border, making rail transport more attractive along the vital north-south axis of Corridor X.”
Fatmir Besimi, Minister of Finance of North Macedonia, expressed his gratitude for the continued support the country receives from the EBRD and the EU: “This is only part of a long list of projects to which we have worked hard to ensure are achieved with sufficient effort. financial support, and which will ensure sustainable growth and faster convergence with the EU. This agreement is part of a more substantial package of more than €700 million for major infrastructure projects, for which Parliament approved laws this week.”
Blagoj Bochvarski, Minister of Transport and Communications of North Macedonia, said: “This is a step towards the joint initiative with Serbia which aims to make the transportation of goods and passengers faster and more efficient. effective. The Ministry of Transport and Communications is ready, and I hope that the construction of the joint station will begin next year. Completing the basic and comprehensive TEN-T road and rail network in line with European standards, reducing waiting times and simplifying procedures at border crossings are priorities that all Western Balkan countries should work on.”
The creation of a common border crossing has been identified as a priority investment to improve regional development and raise awareness of the benefits of attractive and efficient rail connections in the Western Balkans region.
The project is part of the European Commission’s Connectivity Program and supports connectivity reform measures aimed at creating common rail border crossings in the Western Balkan countries that facilitate rail transport. The project is also included as a key priority investment in the National Transport Strategy 2018-30 of North Macedonia and is part of the Transport CommunityAction plan for the country.
The EBRD is one of the largest institutional investors in North Macedonia. To date, it has invested more than 2.6 billion euros in 181 projects in different sectors of the economy, of which 200 million euros were invested in the modernization of the railway and in participating in the financing of Corridor VIII and Corridor X routes.