Bulgarian, Macedonian Presidents Agree Corridor 8 Is 'Priority'

Diplomacy | May 28, 2011, Saturday // 18:29|  views

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov (left) was welcomed in Sofia by Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov (right). Photo by BGNES

The launch of Pan-European Transport Corridor No. 8 is a priority for both Bulgaria and Macedonia, the Presidents of the two countries Georgi Parvanov and Gjorge Ivanov declared in Sofia.

Parvanov and Ivanov's agreement that Corridor 8 is crucial for both countries is the latest of many political declarations on the issue, while the actual large-scale international transport projects remains completely imaginary.

Pan-European Corridor No. 8 – a parallel linking the Bulgarian Black Sea ports to the Albanian Adriatic ports via Macedonia along and its extension to Italy, a supposedly vital chain in the proposed shortest route between East and Central Asia and Western Europe – has been talked about for years with grand expectations for boosting trade and development in the Balkans – but has seen little realization.

Probably the most important obstacle for the project is the lack of a railway connection between Bulgaria and Macedonia, with the Macedonian state balking at the construction of several dozen kilometers of line on its territory.

Macedonia's President Ivanov confirmed his country's readiness to construct the railway section between Kriva Palanka and the Bulgarian border at Gyueshevo.

During his meeting with Ivanov in Sofia Saturday, Parvanov did stress the importance of both the EU integration of Macedonia and the Western Balkans, and the crucial need to construct modern transport and energy infrastructure in the entire region.

Parvanov further said he hoped that the dispute between Greece and Macedonia over the latter's name would be resolved soon. The situation in Macedonia in light of the upcoming parliamentary elections on June 5 was also on the presidents' agenda.

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Tags: Corridor 8, transport corridor, Georgi Parvanov, macedonia, FYROM, Gjorge Ivanov, Gyueshevo, Kriva Palanka, Western Balkans


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