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Funding has been secured to start the modernisation of 148km of railways in Kosovo so that the line can be connected into the European network.
More than €80m (£58m) has been made available by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission (EC) for the upgrade of the Kosovo part of the European Route 10 Rail network.
The project will integrate the rail network in Kosovo into the Orient/East-Mediterranean Corridor, connecting the Western Balkans to Austria, Greece and Bulgaria, as part of the Core Network Corridors of the Trans-European Transport network (TEN-T).
The Rail route 10 is 250km long, out of which a 148km length is in Kosovo and the rest is in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia & Serbia. The modernisation is expected to start in late 2016 and be finished by the end of 2020.
At the moment, the project has received total commitments of €122m. Alongside the €40m EU grant and €42m EIB loan, there is a €40m loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) loan, agreed in September 2015, as well as a contribution from the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). An additional €40m in EU grant is potentially envisaged for later stages of the scheme.
"This is the first EIB loan ever to the public sector in Kosovo", said EIB deputy director general Romualdo Massa Bernucci. "The loan contributes to the Bank’s commitment to support “climate action” as a result of the expected overall reduction of greenhouse gases arising from the modal shift of freight and passengers due to the project."
The railway modernisation project was included in an investment package approved at the Western Balkan summit in Vienna in August 2015, within the European Union's wider agenda to promote connectivity in the region and with the EU.