BULGARIA, North Macedonia and Albania have signed an agreement to complete Corridor 8 of the Pan-European corridors, including a range of rail projects to be completed by 2030. The corridor runs from Durrës to Varna via Elbasan, Skopje, Pernik, Sofia, Plovdiv, and Burgas.

The 10 Pan-European transport corridors were defined at the second Pan-European transport conference in Crete in March 1994 as routes in Central and Eastern Europe that required major investment over the next 10 to 15 years.

The agreement was signed on October 19 by Bulgaria’s minister of transport, information technologies and communications, Mr Hristo Alexiev, Albania’s minister of infrastructure and energy, Ms Belinda Baluku, and North Macedonia minister of transport and communications, Mr Blagoy Bochvarski. The ministers say the corridor includes the development of port, rail and road infrastructure, which will improve transport and economic connectivity and efficiency.

“It is of great importance for us to develop and upgrade transport connectivity in the region,” Alexiev says. “Some connections are still missing, and others need to be upgraded to ensure sufficient capacity. Overall, a large number of sections have been implemented on Bulgarian territory. Modernisation of the Elin Pelin - Kostenets and Plovdiv - Burgas lines is currently underway. A technical assistance project related to the modernisation and construction of the Sofia - North Macedonia border line is also being implemented.”

Bulgaria will complete the construction of the 2.5km line from Gyueshevo to the North Macedonian border, along with the modernisation of the Sofia - Pernik - Radomir - Gyueshevo line. A tender for the Pernik - Radomir section is due to be released next week.

North Macedonia will complete the construction of transport infrastructure to the borders of Bulgaria and Albania, including the 89km Kumanovo - Beliakovtse - Kriva Palanka - Deve Bair railway. Preparation of detailed designs for the modernisation and electrification of the 150km Kumanovo - Skopje - Kicevo line and the construction of the 70km Kicevo - Stuga - Lin line is also underway.

Albania has committed to the rehabilitation of the Tirana - Durrës line and the construction of a 34.7km branch line to Tirana International Airport. It will also rehabilitate the Duras - Rogozhin - Pogradec - Lin line and build a connection from Lin to the border of North Macedonia, totalling 137km.

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