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Serbia: EU provides additional funds for Trans-Balkan Corridor

The EU is set to invest an additional 31 million euros in grants into the Trans-Balkan Electricity Corridor, said the EU Commissioner for the Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Várhelyi, during last week’s visit to Serbia. As part of the visit, the Commissioner and Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy, Dubravka Đedović, attended a presentation on the progress of the extension of the Trans-Balkan Corridor.

Following a bilateral meeting between the two sides after the presentation, Minister Đedović said that Serbia needs a strong grid in order to have a greater share of renewable energy sources (RES) and reduce the emission of harmful gases, and ensure a strong connection with the country’s neighbourhood. The Minister also said that Serbia is planning a ‘significant increase’ in production capacity, which it hopes to export in the future.

In addition, Minister Đedović thanked the EU for its support of the Trans-Balkan Corridor project and expressed the hope that 165 million euros of budget support will arrive soon. Last month, Serbia allocated 40 million euros for the import of electricity, and is ‘expected’ to be 50 million this month and potentially more in January, the Mining and Energy Minister Đedović added.

Speaking about the implementation of the Trans-Balkan Electricity Corridor, the Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner said: “This electricity cable is not only an electricity cable but this is an electricity cable to which we can double up speed due to the trade electricity between the EU and Serbia.”

“This grid extension brings further security of supply to Serbia but also to Europe. Through this we are extending Trans Balkan Electricity Corridor with which we can already import to Serbia, export to Serbia electricity and I imagine that should be a need in Europe, Europe should be able to buy electricity from Serbia,” the Commissioner added.

Commissioner Várhelyi also said that the project ‘fits very well’ with the energy security program that the EU recently launched for the Western Balkans.

In terms of additional EU support, the Commissioner said: “Because we are in this project together and we have to find solutions together and this is part of our security. This is why the European Union is very glad to invest again another 31 million euros in grants into this project but this is not the end of the project, it still needs to be finished and I do hope we can speed up this because this will enable Serbia to switch much faster to RES from coal or other more polluting sources.”

The Trans-Balkan Electricity Corridor also has support from the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Development Bank, said Minister Đedović.

Additionally, Commissioner Várhelyi highlighted that “this project is also part of our bigger plan – the Economic and Investment Plan – that is mobilising 30 billion euros for investments over the Western Balkans.”

Following the bilateral meeting, Minister Đedović also noted that Serbia has done an ‘excellent job’ thus far in developing its electricity grid, connecting with Romania, as well as continuing to connect with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. 

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