BiH: EU grants €11.8 million for the construction of Corridor Vc

BiH: EU grants €11.8 million for the construction of Corridor Vc

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed an €11.8 million contract with Bosnia and Herzegovina to finance the construction of the 6.9 km-long Tarčin-Ivan section of the pan-European Corridor Vc. The EU grant will be drawn from the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), and complements an earlier EIB loan worth € 40.4 million, approved by the EU bank for the same section of the Corridor Vc. For the entire section, including the 1,720 meter-long twin-tube Tunnel Ivan, the European Union has provided a total of €23.3 million in grants in addition to financing provided by the EIB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), complementing funds provided by Bosnia and Herzegovina. This agreement marks another important step forward for EU assistance to the country in the construction of the Corridor Vc.

Corridor Vc embodies the most ambitious investment programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the context of improving regional connectivity, shortening travel times and increasing road safety along the route connecting the main economic and administrative centres in the country. In addition, Corridor Vc will contribute towards the faster social and economic integration of the Western Balkans and the European Union.

EU Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Johann Sattler said that the EU has allocated more than €200 million in grants under the Connectivity Agenda to help Bosnia and Herzegovina accelerate the construction of the Corridor Vc in the country. “The construction works did not stop, even during the coronavirus pandemic. The protective measures put in place in all active construction sites are a very positive sign, as they result in retaining jobs in these difficult times. Most importantly, large public investment programmes generate new jobs, while acceleration of construction is more necessary than ever to mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic”, Sattler stressed.

The grant agreement was signed by Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EIB on behalf of the European Union, and will complement an EIB loan worth €40.4 million.

“The EIB remains committed to the long-term, sustainable development of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we are proud of our role as one of the major investors in country’s road infrastructure. As motorways are drivers of economic and social development, this section will speed up the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the EU, and help create new business opportunities throughout the region, and with them jobs and income for the people. In times of economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, strategic investments like this are clear signals that the EU bank remains a reliable partner for the Western Balkans”, said Head of EIB Lending Operations in Croatia, Slovenia and Western Balkans Matteo Rivellini.

BiH Minister Vjekoslav Bevanda said that “this project will bring Sarajevo and Mostar closer and shorten the travelling distance by connecting the M17 Road with Corridor Vc. In addition to faster and more comfortable travelling, this modern section will also give rise to new economic opportunities and improve environmental protection”.

More than 335 km of Corridor Vc run through Bosnia and Herzegovina, connecting the port of Ploče in Croatia with Budapest. Thus far, 155 km have been completed or are currently under construction. Recognising the need to support the country in this significant and expensive project, the European Union will facilitate the construction of 11 mature projects on Corridor Vc. Under the Connectivity Agenda, the EU is also supporting the construction of the Gradiška bridge and the rehabilitation of the Brčko Port.

The EU grant funds have been allocated through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). /ibna