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Mihajlovic with EIB: We are starting the construction of Nis-Merdare-Pristina highway

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, prof. Zorana Mihajlovic PhD., signed today loan agreement with the European Investment Bank worth EUR 100 million and an investment grant contract worth EUR 40.6 million for the construction of the Nis-Merdare-Pristina highway. The agreements were also signed with Deputy Prime Minister Mihajlovic and Miguel Morgado, Director of the Sector for Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia and the Western Balkans (EIB), Jadranka Joksimovic, Minister for European Integration, and Dusan Puric, Assistant Director of “Corridors of Serbia.”

 

Mihajlovic emphasized that the preparation of this project took three years, and that despite various criticisms, at the initiative of the then Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, a project for the construction of the "highway of peace" was launched, given its importance.


 “This project is important not only for the economic development of Serbia and for connecting citizens in several districts, but also politically, for the sake of stability in the region, because it shows our country's desire to develop, but also to reach a compromise and cooperation. Strategically, this highway will allow us to have access to the sea and ports,” she said.

 

Mihajloivic added that the Government of Serbia is committed to connecting with the region and cooperation, and that construction of six new highways will begin this and next year.


 “Today, Serbia has a stable economy and finances, we are a politically stable country that has the capacity to start and implement large infrastructure projects. We want to connect, be part of the EU, become a modern economy, all in the interest of the citizens and better quality of life,” she said.


Jadranka Joksimovic emphasized that this is an important day for Serbia, because every investment in infrastructure is not a waste of money, but is for the benefit of citizens and in order to improve the quality of life for all.

“There has been a lot of controversy over the importance of this highway, but any EU member state that has used pre-accession funds will tell you that investing in infrastructure is not a waste of money. In practice, we show that we are an active part of the trans-European network and connectivity, which will lead to more economic growth, jobs and better connectivity. Everyone, both the region and the EU, and most of all Serbia, will benefit from this project,” she said.


Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, congratulated Serbia and all participants on this project, saying that signing the highway financing agreement today is a major step towards connecting the region.


“Connecting means peace, hope and prosperity. It is important that we have enabled the countries of the region to connect and reap the full benefits of that connection. We have high hopes for the region and in the next two days we will discuss the possibilities of further cooperation and transport connections,” said Commissioner Bulc.

 

Miguel Morgado said the EIB will continue to support Serbia in order to enhance ties within the country, with the region and with the EU.


"We have been supporting Serbia for many years to improve the transport network, and we will continue to do so, especially given the new investment cycle announced by President Vucic. We want to contribute to Serbia's growth, expansion and prosperity,” Morgado said.


Before signing the agreement on financing the highway from Nis to Pristina, Deputy Prime Minister met with EIB delegation and discussed with them the continuation of cooperation both on this project and on new projects in the field of road, rail and water transport, which the ministry is set to start.

 

The route of the future highway from Nis to Merdare is 77 km long. The first section from Nis to Plocnik is 33 km long and the estimated value of the works on construction of the semi-profile, expropriation and project is around 250 million euros. The second section, from Plocnik to Merdare, is 44 km long and the estimated value is around EUR 570 million. Work on the first section is expected to begin in the last quarter of the next year.