The financial agreement on the construction of the E-80 Nis-Merdare highway, worth EUR 100 million, has been signed by the Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of Serbia, Zorana Mihajlovic, and the director of the sector for Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia and the Western Balkans at the European Investment Bank (EIB), Miguel Morgado.
Another agreement was signed today at the Government of Serbia, pertaining to an investment grant of EUR 40.6 million from the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). It was signed by Mihajlovic, Morgado, the Minister for European Integration of Serbia, Jadranka Joksimovic, and the assistant director of the Corridors of Serbia, Dusan Puric.
Minister Mihajlovic announced that the construction of the first section of the highway, from Nis to Plocnik, will begin in the third quarter of the next year.
– We have worked on this project for three years. Today we signed two important contracts, which are an important step toward the beginning of the construction – Mihajlovic said at the press conference.
She says that the Nis-Merdare highway is not just important for the development of the economy and the connecting within the region, but that it is also important from the political angle, as it shows Serbia's interest and desire to reach a solution through compromise.
Zorana Mihajlovic says that this road will provide Serbia with access to the sea. According to her, this is one of the six highway that will be built in Serbia in 2019 and 2020.
Morgado said that the key contribution of the European Commission to this project was to connect the region and added that EU had supported Serbia for a number of years, working on upgrading the transportation connections in the region when it comes to rail, road and water traffic.
He says that the signing of these agreements is an example of a fruitful collaboration of national institutions and the European Commission and announces that they will continue supporting Serbia, considering the announced investment program.
– Today we had meetings with representatives of the Government of Serbia, where we discussed a potential group of projects we might support in order to contribute to the growth and prosperity of Serbia – Morgado said.
The European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, says that the construction of the Nis-Merdare highway is important for the connecting within the region, adding that it means peace and hope.
– In addition to this highway, also known as “The Highway of Peace”, we plan to connect this part through water transport as well – Bulc said.