The Western Balkan railways are doing well in the process of adjusting to the EU railway network and pan-European corridors, while the sectoral priorities are opening markets, management and interoperability, the Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Jürgen Rigterink, has said.
In an interview with EURACTIV and BETA ahead of a Western Balkans Railways Summit in Belgrade on 13 September, Rigterink said the EBRD would continue to work with state-owned railways, private investors, clients, and governments in the region to materialise these priorities.
“The EBRD has an ambitious agenda in the region to improve the quality of services and train speeds throughout the railway network. The plan is to extend the Trans-European Transport Network in line with EU standards, while strengthening the capacity for preparing and implementing projects accordingly, improving management, safety and maintenance,” the EBRD official said.
Rigterink recalled that railways were a green, sustainable, innovative, safe and efficient means of transport, but “suffered for years due to the seemingly unstoppable triumph of cars, leading to under-investment and a trend of abandoning once excellent railway connections.”