The first joint rail border crossing between North Macedonia and Serbia has begun development after funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the EU was confirmed. 

The crossing, to be built on the Corridor X rail route as part of the Trans-European Transport Network (T-ENT), is being developed to improve connections to the Western Balkans region with a €5m loan from the EBRD and a €2.5m EU grant through the Western Balkans Investment Framework

Blagoj Bochvarski, minister of transport for North Macedonia, said the initiative would make transportation of goods with Serbia “faster and more efficient”, he said: “The Ministry of Transport and Communications is ready, and I expect that the construction of the joint railway station will begin next year. 

“Completing the basic and comprehensive TEN-T road and rail network according to European standards, reducing waiting times and simplifying procedures at border crossings are priorities that all Western Balkans countries should work on.” 

Investment into the project will include upgrades to existing railway station buildings, the construction of new buildings, and the installation of efficiency measures such as solar panels. 

EBRD’s head for North Macedonia, Fatih Türkmenoğlu, said: “We are pleased to support the Ministry of Transport of North Macedonia in efforts to improve the country’s railway infrastructure.  

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“Improved railway – a safer and greener mode of transport – will not only boost regional connectivity and open up new economic and trade opportunities but will also help address the energy crisis.” 

The investment into the joint border crossing is just the latest into Corridor X projects, part of the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, in Serbia, which was granted a €550m loan for an upgrade of the Belgrade to Niš section by an arm of the European Investment Bank.