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J. Joksimović: Imperative coordination of all available project funds

September 26 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Imperative coordination of all available project funds

Minister of European integration and National IPA coordinator Jadranka Joksimović has said today that Serbia, as a front-runner of the European integration process in the Western Balkans, has great needs for new investments in infrastructure and economy development, underlining that it is important to obtain funds for new projects both from the EU and other foreign partners.

In her statement for Tanjug, Joksimović emphasises that the EU represents the most important economic, investment and development partner, and that only through the Western Balkans Investment Framework the EU has provided about EUR 182 million in grants for preparation of documentation and realisation of infrastructural projects.

She has mentioned that the total investment value of those infrastructural projects exceeds five billion euros.

However, bearing in mind the needs and wishes of our country to ensure accelerated and balanced development of all parts of Serbia, Joksimović indicates that current administration is in daily contacts with many countries and international financial organisations in order to establish, in the long run, sustainable and responsible method of adequate sources of financing, the model of implementation and dynamics of the realisation of priority infrastructural projects.

Minister Joksimović has added that the highway Nis-Merdare project is a true example of that, as its total investment value surpasses EUR 650 million.

For the first section of the highway Nis-Plocnik, the EU has secured the grants in the value of EUR 40.6 million, and European Investment Bank ensured a favourable loan in the amount of EUR 100 million.

Joksimović has indicated that the realisation of the second project phase from Plocnik to Merdare has so far been a subject of conversations with various partners so it is reasonable that this project has also been discussed with International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) which has recently opened a regional office in Belgrade.

Joksimović has pointed out that the construction of this highway is precisely one of the key projects for the practical realisation of the idea of “Mini Schengen”, in fact, the economic connectivity of the region. 

She has added that responsible planning and steering of the international development aid into strategic priorities is of key importance for stable and sustainable development of Serbia.
Precisely for this reason the role of the Ministry of European Integration is to help other institutions find the optimum solution for financing projects, Joksimović has indicated.

“During 2016 and 2017 I have signed two agreements which refer to modernisation of the railway Nis- Dimitrovgrad. Only for two components of this projects the EU grants from the Western Balkans Investment Framework were allocated in the amount of EUR 73 million, while the total investment value of the project amounts to EUR 268 million”, states Joksimović.

It is expected that in the following period the grants will also be allocated for the third component concerning the modernisation of the railway Nis-Dimitrovgrad in the amount of about EUR 34 million.

She has indicated that the construction of two sections of Trans-Balkan corridor (Kragujevac-Kraljevo and Obrenovac-Bajina Basta) has also been supported through the Western Balkans Investment Framework, which is a project of great importance for Serbia, but also Romania, BiH and Montenegro.

The minister has emphasized that this project promotes safety and stability of the electricity transmission system in the region.

She has underlined that only for these two sections of the project the EU has allocated about EUR 20 million in grants, and that the entire investment value amounts to about EUR 89 million. 

Serbia has successfully cooperated with the German Development Bank on this project, Joksimović has added.

“The construction of the main transport and energy corridors in the aim of improved connectivity with the EU and the region represents a key of our development and we are therefore carefully monitoring the activities of the European Commission with regard to preparation of the Economic-investment plan for the Western Balkans, and we will discuss this with the highest officials of the European Commission in the following days”, the Minister has said.

When Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi invited us to submit additional project proposals for incentives within the scope of the Economic-Investment Plan, the Ministry of European Integration, along with all line ministries, cabinet of the President of the Republic and cabinet of the Prime Minister made a prioritisation of the nearly prepared projects.

She has emphasised that special attention was paid at ensuring that the projects did not overlap with the project candidates on the broader list of the National IPA funds for 2021 and 2022.

Joksimović indicates that, as results of these efforts, at the beginning of August 2020 Serbia submitted to the EU 12 project proposals with investment value of over EUR 1.5 billion, which will be initiated by 2024, as the funds for their realisation have not yet been secured in entirety.

In addition to projects which contribute to the connectivity in the region, in line with the Connectivity Agenda promoted by the EU, Serbia has also proposed the projects which support the realisation of the Green Agenda, but also stimulate digital connectivity, said the Minister.

“Given all of this and considering the recent visits and establishing of firmer cooperation with the USA and DFC, good coordination is of utmost importance, both inter-sectoral and with international development partners”, underlined Joksimović.

She has recalled that several years ago Serbia had established National Investment Committee for Projects in all infrastructure areas, which is co-chaired by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of European Integration, in order to better coordinate the sources of finance for huge projects and to avoid financial overlapping, for the purpose of more efficient and more transparent funding.

“We can say with certainty that Serbia has, more than ever, become attractive for cooperation for many international partners. The reasons for that are definitely reflected in the stable economic and political climate in our country”, concluded Joksimović.

Izvor: Tanjug