EU Delegation head asks for clear plan for Corridor 10

BELGRADE -- Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert has requested a clear plan for Corridor 10 from the Transportation Ministry and Corridors of Serbia company.

Vincent Degert (Beta, file)
Vincent Degert (Beta, file)

He requested a plan outlining the priorities and deadlines for the completion of Corridor 10 in the country.

He noted that the highway was very important for Europe.

Transportation Minister Milutin Mrkonjić held a meeting with several ambassadors at the Serbian government, at which Degert said that three Corridor 10 sections were at risk due to delays and failure to withdraw funds.

These are the section near Vladičin Han, the Bancarevo tunnel on the eastern leg from Niš to the Bulgarian border, and the section from Ćiflik to Pirot.

Degert said he had been assured by Corridors of Serbia Director Dmitar Đurović that the problems at these sections would be overcome and that the planned pace for the rest of the year would be honored.

Before some 20 representatives of European embassies and international financial institutions (the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank), Mrkonjić and Đurović talked about numerous activities under way on the construction of Corridor 10, noting that all sections had been activated and that contractors still needed to begin works on some.

They added that European companies, which are the chief contractors on Corridor 10, were also responsible for some of the delays.

When asked whether the meeting with European representatives was held because of their opposition to the Serbian government's talks with Chinese companies about the construction of the Belgrade bypass, which is part of Corridor 10, Mrkonjić said this was a part of the reason.

“The meeting took place primarily because they had asked for it at the Kopaonik Business Forum, because they wanted to know how far along the works have gotten,” he said.

Mrkonjić noted that European banks would be given priority if they want to finance the bypass, adding that Serbia had to negotiate with the Chinese over Corridor 11 as well, in order to get the job done and that the Serbian section of Corridor 10 would be finished in two to three years.

Đurović said at least 40 kilometers of the highway would be completed this year, adding that EUR 1.2bn had been allocated for Corridor 10.