Serbia to receive largest-ever EU grant to build fast railway
Serbia will receive a non-repayable EU grant of €610 million, the largest it has ever received, for a fast railway from Belgrade to Niš, announced Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and EU Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi who both boarded a train between both destinations in a somewhat symbolic meeting.
The EU grant will be the largest Serbia has received so far and was signed on Tuesday by the regional chief of the European investment bank for the Western Balkans, Alessandro Bragonzi, and Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Goran Vesić.
Vučić and Varhelyi had a symbolic meeting on the train going from Prokop to Ripanj, on the route of the future fast railway leading from Belgrade to Niš.
“I am glad to be in Serbia again, and this project can change reality not only for Serbian citizens, but people in the entire region”, said Varhelyi.
He also mentioned the first part of the EU energy help package for the Western Balkans.
“We are hoping that around €150 million, that we have put in Serbia’s budget, will help overcome difficulties this winter, and overcome the effects of the energy crisis”, said Varhelyi.
Vučić called Varhelyi a great friend of Serbia and thanked him for everything he has so far done for the country.
Construction is expected to begin in 2024, and the trains on the new railway will reach a speed of 200 kilometres per hour.