Macedonia Promises Bulgaria Progress on 'Corridor 8'

Business | November 3, 2011, Thursday // 20:02|  views

Pan-European Transport Corridor No. 8 has been the dream of generations in the Balkans. Map by

Macedonia's government has agreed with Bulgaria's that the still imaginary project for Pan-European Transport Corridor No. 8 is a priority, the Bulgarian Transport Ministry announced.

Macedonia's new promises to help launch at last the transport corridor have come at a meeting of Bulgaria's Deputy Transport Minister Kamen Kichev with his Macedonian counterpart Tehir Hani.

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.

Bulgaria's Deputy Transport Minister Kichev has presented to the Macedonian government the transport road and railway section under construction and/or rehabilitation in Bulgaria that are part of the proposed route of Corridor 8, the Transport Ministry in Sofia said.

These include the Trakiya Highway and the Lyulin Highway; sections from the Sofia-Burgas railway and the Karnobat-Sindel railway; and the modernization of Port Varna and Port Burgas on the Black Sea.

"The project for the construction of the Sofia-Skopje railway is of strategic significance both because it would connect the railway networks of the two states, and because it would held for the completion of the Corridor 8 route," Kichev told his Macedonian counterpart.

He further said the Bulgarian government needs to construct only 2.5 km of railway from the village of Gyueshevo to the Macedonian border.

"We are ready to build it right now if the Republic of Macedonia starts constructing their section," Milcho Lambrev, Director-General of Bulgaria's National Company "Railway Infrastructure."

The Bulgarian Transport Ministry further says that Macedonia's Ministry of Transport and Communication "is in an advanced phase of the feasibility study for the railway line from Kumanovo to Deve Bair", the missing railway section on Macedonian territory.

"We are optimistic that we will complete the railway in 5 years," the Macedonian Transport Ministry is quoted as saying.

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Tags: Corridor 8, transport corridor, macedonia, FYROM, Gyueshevo, Kriva Palanka, Western Balkans, Kamen Kichev, Transport Ministry, Milcho Lambrev, National Company "Railway Infrastructure"


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