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Mihajlovic: Joint call to Northern Macedonia and Greece to become a part of the fast railway track project

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, prof. Zorana Mihajlovic PhD., said that the delegations of Serbia, People's Republic of China and Hungary agreed at today’s meeting of the Trilateral Working group for the construction of Belgrade-Budapest fast railway track, to invite Northern Macedonia and Greece to join the project.


"We discussed that it is not enough that there is a fast railway from Belgrade to Budapest, but to extend this important corridor and call on Northern Macedonia and Greece to join this project in order to get a truly and completely modernized railway corridor including Budapest, Belgrade , Skopje and Port of Piraeus, " said Mihajlovic, who hosted the Eighth meeting of the Trilateral Working Group of the Republic of Serbia, Hungary and People's Republic of China for a project of reconstruction and modernization of Belgrade-Budapest railway line.


She said that today they talked about everything that has been done so far on this project and what is still needed for the railway to be operative not only for the carriage of passengers, but also for the increasing transport of goods.


"We are proud that the idea from ​​five years ago of the Chinese President, Hungarian Prime Minister and then Prime Minister of Serbia, and today's President of Serbia, gave the results that we have today, that the works on two sections from Belgrade to Novi Sad are speedily performed and that we expect works on the section from Novi Sad to Subotica to start in the first quarter of 2020. The fast railway track project is part of the Global Chinese Initiative "One Belt, One Road", but it also shows the partnership and friendly relationship of the People's Republic of China, Hungary and Serbia, "Mihajlovic said.


She emphasized that all projects that Serbia is working on with Chinese companies are being performed in accordance with European standards and that all works must have confirmation that they have been made in agreement with these standards. "Specifically, for the fast railway track clearly states in the contracts that everything that is done, must be in accordance with European standards, which will be controlled by a special notification body selected on the tender," Mihajlovic said.


Speaking about the deadlines for constructing a fast railway track on the territory of Serbia, Mihajlovic said that the expectation of a Chinese contractor is that works on Belgrade-Stara Pazova section will be completed in autumn 2020 and verified by the end of that year. "The second section, from Stara Pazova to Novi Sad, where Russian RZD is operating, should be completed according to the dynamic plan by November 2021, and by the end of 2021 there will be an operational line between Belgrade and Novi Sad. In the third section, Novi Sad - Subotica, we expect the works to start in the first quarter of the next year, and they will last for at least two years, and we expect the Hungarian side to complete the works on its territory in similar time, " said Deputy Prime Minister.


Vice President of the National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China, Ning Jizhe, congratulated on the successful three-lateral meeting of the delegations and added that important talks were held today to continue the implementation of the project, which should be an example of cooperation between the People's Republic of China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.


"We expect Chinese companies to effectively complete the construction of the section from Belgrade to Stara Pazova, and for works on the section from Belgrade to Subotica to start next year," he said.


He also added that the entire route from Budapest to Port Piraeus will be analyzed and reminded that the volume of freight traffic on this line is increasing compared to the period of five years ago. "It is now important that all three parties make an effort to facilitate border procedures, because it is an important corridor that contributes to better integration not only of Hungary and Serbia, but of the entire region," he said.


Minister of Innovation and Technology of Hungary, Laszlo Palkovics, said that Belgrade-Budapest fast railway track project was designed not only for transportation from People's Republic of China to other parts of the world, but much more than that. "This is about how to successfully cooperate with PR China, but also to cooperate better among ourselves in Central and Eastern Europe. This project is a great result of the cooperation between three sides and an example for other projects in Central and Eastern Europe, "Palkovics said, adding that the next meeting of the Trilateral Working group will be held in Hungary.


After the meeting of the Trilateral Working group, heads of delegations, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlovic, Vice President of the National Commission for Development and Reform of the People's Republic of China Ning Jizhe and Minister of Innovation and Technology of Hungary Laslzo Palkovics, signed MOM with the conclusions of the meeting.