EBRD Grants EUR 46 M for Construction of Macedonia-Bulgaria Railway
Macedonia has received a EUR 46.4 M loan from European Bank for Development and Reconstruction for the upgrade of the Kumanovo – Beljakovce railway stretch.
Rebuilding the 30.8km Kumanovo – Beljakovce line is the first phase of a project to establish a direct rail link between Skopje and Sofia.
In addition, the loan includes EUR 2.5 M to help Macedonia advance the second phase of the project, which will extend the line east from Beljakovce to Kriva Palanka, the International Railway Journal informs. The third and final phase will take the line over the border into Bulgaria, where it will join the Gyueshevo – Radomir line.
The project gives the Balkan nation and its neighbors "a whole new route for trade" with improved links to the Black Sea ports in neighboring Bulgaria, EBRD has pointed out in a letter cited by Bloomberg.
The Pan-European Corridor No. 8 – a parallel linking the Bulgarian Black Sea ports to the Albanian Adriatic ports via Macedonia along and its extension to Italy, a supposedly vital chain in the proposed shortest route between East and Central Asia and Western Europe – has been talked about for years with grand expectations for boosting trade and development in the Balkans – but has seen little realization.
Probably the most important obstacle for the project is the lack of a railway connection between Bulgaria and Macedonia, with the Macedonian state balking at the construction of the several dozen kilometers of line on its territory.
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