EU to finance railway line from Adriatic Sea through Macedonia

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The European Union will finance the construction of a railroad line along Corridor 8 – set to link the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea – which will transit through Macedonia, Johannes Hahn tells Deutsche Welle.

The EU Commissioner says the construction of the transport corridor 8 is one of the projects due to be funded by the EU in Macedonia.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle on the eve of Wednesday’s Western Balkans Summit in Trieste, which covers the implementation of transport and energy projects amongst other things, Hahn says the EU will finance a total of six transport corridors in the regions, including four highways and two railway lines.

“One of the railway projects is Corridor 8, intended to set a link from the east to the west, from Bulgaria via Macedonia and to Albania,” Hahn states.

At the Trieste Summit, he adds, Brussels will unveil an ambitious plan for the Western Balkans focusing on two segments – infrastructure and the people.

Commissioner Hahn says the EU plans on attracting funds from international financing institutions by financing grants for the Western Balkans, designed for transport and energy projects.

According to him, the objective of these projects is to contribute to an accelerated development of the region and to bringing Balkan countries closer and to pushing them further towards EU accession.

The Commissioner for Enlargement also refers to the idea of establishing a common market for Western Balkan countries, rejecting any criticism accusing Brussels of trying to create ‘a new Yugoslavia’.

“It is not our intention at all. It is means for regional connection following the example of Baltic states. A single market of 20 million inhabitants is much more attractive. Regional cooperation will also help the countries in the region be more competitive within the EU once they join the organization. Most importantly, the EU wants to convince Western Balkan countries that they are part of our family,” Commissioner Hahn tells Deutsche Welle.

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