|National Contribution||Own Contribution||€ 22,405,000|
|Total Grants||€ 50,195,000|
|Total Loans||€ 162,400,000|
The Orient/East-Med Corridor in Serbia includes the Nis – Merdare E80/R7 road section, which continues into Kosovo* and then Albania up to Durres Port, on the Adriatic. Also known as the 'Peace Highway', this road interconnection is of great importance for the freight and passenger transportation in the Western Balkans as it is the region’s shortest route from Durres Port, on the Adriatic, to South-Eastern and Central Europe as well as to the Black Sea.
The Nis – Merdare road section (~70 km) currently consist of two lanes, inconsistently maintained. In addition, the road goes through urban and rural areas and there are frequent bottlenecks at the border crossing point in Merdare. The European Union, through the Western Balkans Investment Framework, has been instrumental in identifying the investment needs as well as financing the preparation of the technical documentation required for undertaking actual construction work for the Nis - Plocnik (33 km), and Plocnik – Merdare (37 km) sections, including the development of a modern cross-border point in Merdare. The project has been supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) who have expressed interest in providing a part of the funding.
The location (Spatial Plan) of the entire Route 7 in Serbia, from Nis (Merosina) to Merdare, was approved by the Government in October 2017. The Nis (Merosina) – Plocnik (Beloljin) section is now at the stage of detailed design. Land ownership issues are to be addressed in the coming period, while the environmental impact assessment study is to be approved by the relevant authorities in Serbia and participating International Financing Institutions by October 2018. A detailed social impact assessment study has been prepared in accordance with the EIB’s and EBRD’s requirements. The studies, including preliminary designs, have been carried out by the Infrastructure Project Facility 4 .
In addition, the EU has pledged a €41.4 million grant for the construction of this first section, under the 2018 Connectivity Agenda package. This brings the EU contribution to this project to more than €50 million in grants over the past four years.
*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.