© Shutterstock

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank of the European Union, will extend its ongoing support for the modernisation of Czech national railways and provide advisory assistance to Správa železnic, s.o (SŽ), the national railway administration of the Czech Republic. The EIB will support SŽ in the development of a methodology and tools for assessing the suitability of public-private partnerships for delivering rail infrastructure projects in the country. EIB and the Czech railways authority signed the advisory agreement in Prague on 24 March.

The EIB will also help SŽ to develop its own capabilities for identifying and preparing public-private partnership projects in the railway sector, and to put the skills gained into practice. Under the agreement, the EIB and Správa železnic will be examining the most effective financing structures for enabling private sector participation in the development of the railways — such as joint ventures — to foster rail construction or modernisation.

EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, who oversees EIB operations in Czech Republic, said: “Making the transport sector of the European Union greener, more sustainable, and carbon-neutral is a key steps for the success of global climate action. Modernising the rail sector will not only allow us to achieve our goal of becoming a carbon-neutral continent by 2050, but will also to provide our people and businesses with safer, more efficient and comfortable transport. Such investments will also enhance social and economic cohesion in the European Union. Our partnership with Správa železnic is an important step towards these goals and I am very happy that our advisory services will play a key role in the modernisation of the Czech railway system.”

Mojmír Nejezchleb, Deputy Director General for rail modernisation at SŽ, said: “Once completed, this methodology will be generally applied for analysing the suitability of individual public-private partnership models for the Czech railway administration’s projects. We will be able to use it frequently in the coming years when seeking the optimal public-private partnership method for individual construction projects. Subsequently, partnerships should be established for specific projects identified as eligible for financing using the public-private partnership model.”

Free advisory assistance covered by EU funds

Správa železnic will benefit from the services free of charge, as the European Union covers the costs of the EIB advisory support through the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH). Experts from the European PPP Expertise Centre (EPEC), the EIB’s Projects Directorate and JASPERS, engaged by the EIAH, will provide technical assistance to Správa železnic and expand cooperation between SŽ and JASPERS.