Over the past 10 years the transport sector in the Western Balkans has received considerable investment.
Nevertheless, the latest Regional Balkans Infrastructure Study-Transport (REBIS) concluded that 30% of the region’s comprehensive road network requires immediate maintenance and/or upgrade. It also identified capacity constraints on more than 30% of the rail network and stressed the urgent need for rail rehabilitation and maintenance.
In 2015, the Western Balkans leaders agreed on the Core transport network for the region and the indicative extension of the EU Core Network Corridors in the WB6 countries. This will enhance connectivity within the region and between the region and the EU. SEETO has estimated priority projects’ costs at €13.9 billion, while the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies found that such a package could boost regional GDP growth by up to one percentage point per year over 15 years and help create more than 200.000 jobs.
The WBIF provides grants to prepare and build projects. Only Core network projects are eligible for investment grants and can make use of the approximately €1 billion EU grant available (IPA II) for connectivity co-financing, over the 2015-2020 period. The WBIF also supports the REBIS study, a key regional transport planning tool. Finally, it liaises with SEETO on implementation of connectivity reform measures as agreed by the WB6 countries in 2015.