Serbia has sent nine applications for grants in the amount of EUR 157 million from the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). Projects include the construction of a Trans-Balkan corridor and eight wastewater treatment plants.
Serbia nominated three projects related to transportation, energy, and digital infrastructure for the 25th round of the WBIF technical assistance, and six projects concerning rail and water transportation, energy, environment, and social infrastructure for the 6th round of investment grants.
The total investment value of all proposed projects is some EUR 760 million, while the amount of requested grants is about EUR 157 million, according to the Ministry of European Integration.
In June 2021, the WBIF Steering Committee will announce the final decision on selected projects.
The WBIF is one of the main instruments for the implementation of the EUR 9 billion Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans
The WBIF is a special instrument of support provided by the EU and international financial institutions, and also one of the main instruments for the implementation of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.
In October last year, the European Commission presented a plan which envisages mobilizing up to EUR 9 billion to support the economic convergence of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia with the EU.
Construction on wastewater plants is expected to begin in the last quarter of 2022
One of the proposed projects relates to the energy sector – the Trans-Balkan corridor, section 4 (Bajina Bašta-Pljevlja-Višegrad) – which represents a regional interconnection between Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.
A week ago Serbia received a EUR 12.8 million grant from the WBIF for section 3 of the corridor.
In the area of environmental protection, Serbia has nominated the construction of wastewater treatment plants in Jagodina, Kikinda, Pirot, Požarevac, Vršac, Trstenik, Smederevo, and Pančevo.
The construction of the plants is expected to begin in the final quarter of 2022, and the implementation of the project will significantly improve the quality of the environment in these cities, according to the ministry.
Joksimović: The projects will contribute to the implementation of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans
According to the ministry, the majority of the proposed projects are particularly important for cluster 4 – Green Agenda, digitalization, and infrastructural connectivity, as well as for cluster 3, which is related to competitiveness and inclusive growth. The clusters are part of the Economic and Investment Plan.
The projects will increase investments and improve living standards, as well as contribute to the implementation of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, which Serbia accepted at the Western Balkans Summit in Sofia, particularly in terms of the development of environmentally friendly transportation, such as rail and river transportation,” said Joksimović.
Among the proposed projects are the Niš–Dimitrovgrad railway section, the development of river transportation infrastructure, and the tackling of critical sections on the Sava and Danube rivers.