The European Union (EU) allocated 15 million euros (16.6 million U.S. dollars) worth grant on Thursday to co-finance the completion of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH’s) main transport corridor, according to the EU Delegation to BiH website.
During the signing ceremony between BiH and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), it was noted that the new section will be 6.1 km long and will contribute to regional integration by improving the country’s connectivity.
The new highway section is a part of connection of Banja Luka, a city located some 195 km northwest of BiH’s capital Sarajevo, and Doboj, located 150 km north.
After the signing ceremony, the director of the EBRD office in BiH Ian Brown assessed Corridor 5C as the most important infrastructure project in the country.
He added that establishing better ties within BiH and connecting it with Europe will serve better integration, not only in economic terms.
The Head of the Delegation of the EU in BiH Lars-Gunnar Wigemark explained that at the recently held Western Balkans Summit in Poznan, Poland, from July 3-5, the EU endorsed a new Connectivity package that fulfills 1 billion euros (1.1 billion U.S. dollars) pledge to the Western Balkans in grants for the period of 2014-2020.
“This 15 million euros grant is one out of 11 projects funded by the EU in BiH as part of the Connectivity Agenda,” Wigemark said, adding that a total of 217 million euros (240 million U.S. dollars) have been approved for BiH so far.
BiH’s Minister of Finance and Treasury Vjekoslav Bevanda noted that the grant will help the domestic company “Republika Srpska Highways”, located in one of the entities in BiH, on the construction of two loops, two-lane driveway and crossing over the Bosna River.
“These agreements will help boost local companies, create new jobs, and eventually enable us to move towards the EU in terms of transport links,” Bevanda said, emphasizing that new infrastructure will bring better economic growth.
Bevanda recalled that BiH signed a loan agreement with the EBRD worth 70 million euros (77.4 million U.S. dollars) back in 2017 for these highway sections.
Corridor 5C, the trans-European highway that will in the shortest and fastest, connect the north of Europe with its south, is part of Europe’s E73 highway, connecting Ploce – Sarajevo – Osijek in Croatia and Budapest in Hungary.
Corridor 5C is expected to be completed by 2030 with the total cost estimated to be approximately 4 billion euros (4.4 billion U.S. dollars).