European Investment Bank Pumps €100 Million into Sustainable Railway Development in Albania

EIB Global, the international arm of the European Investment Bank (EIB), has signed a significant €100 million loan agreement with Albania. This financing, part of the Team Europe initiative, aims to modernize and electrify a crucial 120 km railway line from Vorë to Hani i Hotit, at the Montenegro border.

The project aligns with the strategic EU support for enhancing railway infrastructure in the Western Balkans. It seeks to boost accessibility, foster socioeconomic growth, improve trade links, and promote sustainable modes of transport. Moreover, it contributes to the decarbonization of local economies, aligning with EU climate objectives.

The financing package for this endeavor includes the €100 million EIB loan, an EU investment grant of €126 million channeled through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), and a €98.75 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The Vorë-Hani i Hotit railway project encompasses electrification, station reconstruction, telecommunications upgrades, and safety enhancements. These measures will allow for increased traffic speeds, up to 120 km/h, thereby enhancing efficiency and capacity for both passenger and freight transportation. As part of the Core TEN-T Mediterranean Corridor, this railway link connects Tirana with Podgorica and serves as a vital connection between Albania and the rest of Europe.

The signing ceremony, held in Tirana, was attended by high-level representatives including EIB Vice-President Kyriacos Kakouris, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Deputy Prime Minister Belinda Balluku, and EU Delegation Chargé d’affaires André Rizzo. Their presence underscores the joint commitment to advancing sustainable mobility and regional connectivity.

The EU-funded railway line is not only crucial for enhancing connectivity within Albania and the Western Balkans but also signifies tangible progress towards EU integration. It will facilitate faster and safer travel for both passengers and cargo along the Adriatic coast.

To ensure successful project implementation, a team of experts from the European Commission and EIB advisory program JASPERS has developed an action plan to strengthen Albania’s capacity for managing railway infrastructure projects. Additionally, the EIB is providing technical support for the preparation of the Corridor VIII rail project, further bolstering regional connectivity.

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