Von der Leyen opens new bridge in Svilaj between Croatia and BiH

Von der Leyen said that the Svilaj Bridge connects the Western Balkans and the European Union. [EPA-EFE/ ANTONIO BAT]

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and BiH Prime Minister Zoran Tegeltija cut the ribbon officially marking the Svilaj bridge open to traffic.

The Svilaj Bridge across the River Sava, which connects Svilaj in Croatia with Donji Svilaj in BiH is part of the international Pan-European Vc corridor. It is located east of Slavnoski Brod in Slavonia. The bridge was built according to an agreement between the Croatian government and BiH’s Council of Ministers.

Each state financed 50% of the construction costs. Croatia’s share was covered by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and an EIB loan. The construction cost totalled €22.31 million without VAT.

Von der Leyen said that the Svilaj Bridge connects the Western Balkans and the European Union and, more importantly, symbolically builds bridges and connects people, countries and cultures.

“I’ve often said that Croatia will not put up any fence on the border with BiH,” PM Plenković said, underscoring that Croatia wishes to intensify cooperation with BiH in numerous areas.

PM Tegeltija commented on another project that will see a bridge constructed across the River Sava at Gradiška (on the west), saying that the start of summer 2022 will be an opportunity to open it with Croatia’s prime minister and the EC president.

The EU Commission chief also said that BiH’s progress towards EU membership requires urgent progress in election and constitutional reforms.

(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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