Romania and Bulgaria have signed two key Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) grant agreements with the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) for key rail infrastructure projects.
Under the agreement for the Bulgarian rail project, more than €151m of funding has been allocated for important upgrades on the Kostenets-Septemvri section of the Sofia-Plovdiv railway line, along the Orient-East Med TEN-T Core Network Corridor.
INEA director Dirk Beckers said: "The project we are green-lighting was selected for its importance in modernising a key section of Bulgarian infrastructure, which is part of a broader European network.
“It is only through these kind of projects, which deliver not only locally but EU-wide, that we will be able to deliver the transport infrastructure network that business and citizens of the EU need."
Part of those supported by the EU under the CEF for transport instrument, the project will involve infrastructure upgrades to a 24.4km stretch of Bulgarian railway that lies between Kostenets and Septemvri.
It was selected under the 2015 CEF Transport calls, which made €7.6bn available to finance projects to improve transport infrastructure in Europe.
Bulgaria Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Ivailo Moskovski said: "This project has strategic importance, not only for Bulgaria but for all of the South-East European Countries.
“The Kostenetz-Septemvri railway section is part of the line connecting the Serbian border with the Turkish and Greek borders, as well as the Black Sea port of Bourgas.
"These two railway lines have a major priority for our country and we plan to finish them completely by 2022.”
Upon completion, the upgrade work is expected to remove a major bottleneck on this section of the line.