Faster and safer Danube navigation
The project to remove the vessels that have been lying on the bottom of the Danube for more than seven decades will be financed by an extremely favourable loan from the European Investment Bank in cooperation with the Government of Serbia. The cleaning of the riverbed will make navigation in this part of the river far safer and faster. Some parts of the ships will be exhibited, and the rest will be returned to Germany.
The investment will improve river traffic in Serbia, because the country loses up to €5 million per year due to unsafe navigation in this section of the Danube, according to former Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Zorana Mihajlovic. The presence of the ships on the riverbed has a negative impact on the environment, as well.
Dubravka Negre, Head of the EIB in the Western Balkans, said that this project is of great historical importance and is also important for the economic development of Serbia. “Everyone in this country is emotionally attached to this river that unveils important tales of the past,” she says.
“It represents an invaluable natural resource for energy, food and drinking water, generating 22% of the national energy supply. At the same time, it stretches along a pivotal navigation route, offering cost-efficient transit opportunities within regional and EU markets.”
By contributing to the expansion of international economic ties, Negre adds, it reconnects the people of the Balkans, who share the same past. Today, after many decades, they can meet on the same path towards a new, common market with European values and prospects for a better tomorrow.
Unique transport project for the EU bank
Serbia is the only non-EU country where the EIB invests in water transport. The Danube is part of a Pan-European Corridor and the implementation of this project will significantly contribute to faster and more efficient transport of goods to EU Member States, which in turn contributes to Serbia’s economy.
The European Investment Bank has been active in Serbia since 1977, having invested more than €6 billion in various projects. The biggest portion of funds—almost 40% (€2.1 billion)—was invested in transport projects with €165 million invested in the energy sector.