€17.6 Million Grant Agreement Signed for 2016 Connectivity Agenda Project in Kosovo*
The second grant agreement for Kosovo under the Connectivity Agenda was signed today by representatives of the European Union, Kosovo, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The grant has leveraged an overall investment in excess of €42 million and will support the rehabilitation of Rail Route 10 Phase 2, on the Orient/East-Med Corridor.
The €17.6 million EU grant is the second grant approved under the Connectivity Agenda for the rehabilitation of Rail Route 10 on Orient/East-Med Corridor in Kosovo. It complements the grant approved under the 2015 Connectivity Agenda investment package for the rehabilitation of the railway section between Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje and the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Phase 1, and follows loans of €39.9 million and €42 million made in 2015 by the EBRD and EIB respectively, to finance all three phases of the work.
This new grant will cover 49% of the works for the rehabilitation of 35 km of railway track and 5 railway stations on the section between Fushë Kosovë/ Kosovo Polje and Mitrovicë/Mitrovica. The project has also benefited from a €1.5 million grant from the WBIF Bilateral Donors and EBRD to cover the preparation of design, tender documents and project implementation support. In addition, the EU has provided a €0.5 million grant for the preparation of the feasibility study along the entire Route 10.
The detailed design and tender dossier for Phase 2 are close to completion and construction could hence start in the third quarter of 2019 and be finalised by the end of 2024. Once complete, the project will ensure secure and efficient rail transport for approximately 50% of the population of Kosovo.
On the occasion of the grant signature, Kosovo, European Commission, and EBRD signatories maintained:
- Mr Bedri Hamza, Finance Minister of Kosovo: "The construction of the main railway line through Kosovo connects us to the neighbouring countries and further to the European Union in both directions - north and south. Today we are signing the agreement that covers the 35 km line from Fushë Kosovë to Mitrovica. At the same time, we have already applied for the funding of the third phase - 42 km of railway to the border with Serbia in the value of over €24 million only for physical works. I take this opportunity to once again thank the European taxpayers for their support in building and developing our country."
- Ms Nataliya Apostolova, Head of EU Office/EUSR: "The investment is also expected to create more than 160 new jobs during the construction as well as operation and maintenance periods. It will also significantly contribute to the interoperable railway route in Kosovo providing not only safe transport services to the people and businesses in the region and wider Europe but also improved freight transport possibilities."
- Ms Sue Barrett, EBRD Director for Transport: "EBRD’s original loan to the national railway infrastructure company, provided funding to upgrade the 148 km line. It was EBRD’s first loan to the transport sector in Kosovo and was co-financed by the European Investment Bank. The project also benefits from technical assistance grants for project preparation and implementation as well as reform measures provided by the EU and the WBIF."
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.