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J. Joksimović: Serbia proposes projects for financing from WBIF

March 01 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Serbia proposes projects for financing from WBIF

Minister of European Integration and National IPA Coordinator Jadranka Joksimović has proposed nine projects for award of grants from the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF).

The 25th round of technical assistance saw the proposal of three projects related to transport, energy and digital infrastructure, while six projects concerning rail and waterborne transport, energy, environment and social infrastructure were proposed within the sixth round of investment grants. 

The total investment value of all proposed projects is around EUR 760 million, while the amount of requested grants is around EUR 157 million.

In June 2021, the WBIF Steering Committee will make the final decision on which proposals will be supported.

Asked by Tanjug which projects Serbia proposed for financing from the Western Balkans Investment Framework, Joksimović has recalled that the Framework is a special instrument of support provided by the EU and international financial institutions for the preparation and implementation of infrastructural projects, and that it is one of the main instruments for the implementation of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.

“The Plan provides for EU investments worth up to EUR 9 billion in the Western Balkans, to be directed towards priority areas and projects that should contribute to better regional connectivity and improved connectivity with the European Union, which in turn will accelerate the free movement of people and goods and deepen the overall trade and economic cooperation”, said Joksimović.

Significant support is also allocated for the sectors of environment and social infrastructure, added Joksimović, noting that the large number of projects that have been proposed for grant award from the WBIF shows that the Serbian Government and all line ministries have worked hard in the previous period to prepare the documentation for vital infrastructural projects.

According to Joksimović, those projects will contribute to improved regional transport, energy and digital connectivity. 

“We have taken the importance of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans seriously, as its main goal is the acceleration of the socio-economic development of our country and the overall accession process, particularly within the new negotiation methodology”, said Joksimović.

The majority of the proposed projects is particularly important for cluster 4 – Green Agenda, digitisation and infrastructural connectivity, as well as for cluster 3 that is related to improving competitiveness and inclusive growth.

Three projects that have been proposed for investment grants are from the area of transport, where one concerns rail transport and the rail section Niš–Dimitrovgrad and Corridor 10, while the other two relate to the development of river transport infrastructure and tackling critical sections on the Sava and Danube, which will enable safe transport of goods on Serbian rivers.

It is important to stress that all three proposed projects are part of the indicative expansion of the EU core TEN-T network to the Western Balkans, said the Minister.

Furthermore, one proposed project relates to the energy sector and includes the continuation of projects for the Trans-Balkan corridor, namely section 4 – Bajina Bašta–Pljevlja–Višegrad which represents a regional interconnection between Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. 

The project will contribute to the upgrade and modernisation of the existing network, which will ensure a more stable, reliable and safer electricity supply for people and economy.

“All this will result in increased cross-border trade, and consequently – larger income for our country”, said Joksimović.

In the area of environment, one project has been proposed which relates to the construction of waste water treatment plants in Jagodina, Kikinda, Pirot, Požarevac, Vršac, Trstenik, Smederevo and Pančevo, with a total capacity of over 500,000 population equivalent.

The construction of plants is expected to begin in the last quarter of 2022, while the realisation of the project will result in a significantly improved quality of environment in the aforementioned cities and municipalities.

Joksimović has said that, in this round, Serbia has also applied for a EUR 35 million investment grant for the project of construction of a new children’s hospital – Tiršova 2, which will be a state-of-the-art children’s hospital, the best not only in Belgrade and Serbia but also in the region.

“We have been waiting for a new children’s hospital for decades”, said Joksimović, adding that the Loan Agreement worth EUR 54 million was signed with the Council of Europe Development Bank back in November 2019. 

“All the aforementioned projects will contribute to increased investments and improved life standard in our country, as well as to achieving the goal of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, which the Republic of Serbia accepted at the Western Balkans Summit in Sofia, in November 2020, particularly in terms of the development of environmentally friendly means of transport, such as rail and river transport”, noted Joksimović.

Source: Tanjug