3 February 2022 – Director of the Transport Community Permanent Secretariat Matej Zakonjšek met today with the Serbian Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Tomislav Momirović and his team to discuss cooperation with focus on joint initiatives planned for 2022.
Progress on development of rail in Serbia was reviewed, with specific focus on projects on Corridor X, such as modernisation of railway line between Belgrade and Budapest. To move forward on joint priority to make rail travel more appealing for the citizens of Serbia, interlocutors agreed that adoption of several key laws (Law on Interoperability, Law on Railways, Law on Safety) will be essential. Finalising rail infrastructure projects and establishing regular rail passenger service between Belgrade and Timisoara was highlighted as one of priorities for this year.
„Close cooperation with Romania, on political, as well as technical level, will be instrumental to move ahead with construction of the Belgrade – Timisoara highway (precisely Pančevo-Vršac-Vatin-Timisoara) and reconstruction of the railway line on the same segment,“ Zakonjšek stated. The meeting was also an opportunity to review the initiative to reestablish passenger train connections between Belgrade and Zagreb, as well as progress on construction of several railway lines which will connect Serbia better with its neighbors.
Minister Momirović emphasised that Serbia remains committed to the EU agenda and the construction of modern infrastructure as the foundation for region’s progress.
“From the Adriatic to the central part of Europe, from the Aegean to Western Europe, Serbia is indispensable and does everything to connect and integrate the region, not thinking only of its own needs, but of the well-being of the entire region. We are aware of our responsibility and role in connecting Europe with fast and safe roads, as well as the integration of all forms of transport of goods and people. We are here to prove our cooperation and commitment to every project for the benefit of the citizens of Southeast Europe,” Momirovic said.
Regional cooperation will be further enhanced with completion of the Peace Highway that will connect Niš with Priština, continue to Tirana and end in Durrës on the Adriatic Sea. “Transport Community is committed to promotion of sustainable connectivity and strengthening of regional economic growth. It is crucial that after 2021 commencement of works on the first section Niš – Pločnik, works commences also on Pločnik – Merdare section. Good coordiantion will be crucial to ensure that this project stays on track,” Zakonjšek said. “When it comes to sustainable connectivity, I would also like to congratulate Serbia on opening cluster 4 in EU accession negotiations last December. Moving forward, the Ministry can count on our support in all matters related to transport policy (chapter 14) and trans-European networks (chapter 21).”
Regarding road legislation, TCT Secretariat expressed readiness to consult the Ministry in the process of drafting the National Transport Strategy as well as to support alignment with the EU acquis in other transport areas.
Interlocutors noted that negotiating and signing of bilateral agreement for one-stop controls between Serbia and neighbors is one of the concrete steps that will increase capacities at border crossings and reduce waiting times. Zakonjšek highlighted Transport Community’s support for the establishment of one-stop border crossings, as the most advanced example of regional cooperation that brings concrete benefits for the citizens.