7 March, Sofia – Director of the Transport Community Permanent Secretariat Mr Matej Zakonjsek met today with the Minister of Transport and Communications Mr Nikolay Sabevfor for discussions how to improve connectivity between Bulgaria and the Western Balkans.
“It was my pleasure to meet with Minister Sabev to discuss Bulgaria’s constructive role for improved connectivity in the Western Balkans and the support that Transport Community can provide in this process. The last two EU-WB6 summits brought positive impetus and new perspective for a better connectivity between EU and its immediate neighbours, especially North Macedonia and Serbia. Bulgaria’s role in this process in essential,” Zakonjsek said.
Interlocutors reviewed progress on construction of essential transport links such as Rail Corridors VIII and X. Completion of the route from Serbia to Bulgaria (Corridor X) and establishment of one-stop rail border crossing in Dimitrovgrad will reduce border waiting time by 50% and make travel by rail more appealing to our citizens. Railway between Skopje and the Bulgarian border (Corridor VIII), has been identified as one of key projects of European Commission’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. The execution of this project has a strong economic dimension and opens new possibilities for free movement of passengers and goods. Corridor VIII is an essential east-west route, connecting the Albanian Adriatic port of Durres to the port of Varna via North Macedonia. Last year’s Memorandum of Cooperation on the construction of
sustainable infrastructure along Pan-European Corridor VIII was a sign of clear commitment to finalise this important project with the EU’s support.
“Transport Community will continue supporting establishment of joint border crossings in the region as the most efficient way to reduce waiting times and remove congestions. Investments in infrastructure are important, but in order to improve connectivity and integrate the Western Balkans transport markets into the EU, we must solve congestions on borders. The best way to this is by extending the concept of Green Lanes from the Western Balkans to borders with the EU, including border crossings between Bulgaria and North Macednia and Serbia,” Zakonjsek said.