European transport commissioner calls for expediting projects, their financing as part of Solidarity Lanes with Ukraine
MOSCOW. Dec 9 (Interfax) - The European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are working on providing support to key infrastructure projects as part of the Solidarity Lanes - new logistical routes for Ukraine - and will soon present the first "blending instrument", combining EU grants and EBRD loans to support the Solidarity Lanes, European Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean said.
"To go further - and we must go further - we need more investment: in rolling stock, scanners and transhipment equipment, and infrastructure upgrades," Valean said on Thursday at a conference arranged jointly with the EBRD to discuss Solidarity Lanes financing, Ukrainian media said, citing the commissioner's website.
The Solidarity Lanes are now almost seven months old, and they have carried more than 17 million tonnes of cereals, plus many other products - from humanitarian aid to fuel, animal feed, and fertilizers, she said.
Valean thanked Poland, Slovakia and Romania which had to handle most of this freight traffic. The Danube route and the port of Constanta have been key in demand, accounting for more than 50% of Solidarity Lane grain exports, she said.
The land-based northern Polish route is the second busiest, and other corridors, in particular the Adriatic Corridor, remain crucial, Valean said.
Together, the European Commission, the EBRD, the European Investment Bank, and the World Bank have announced a one-billion-euro package of financing specifically for the Solidarity Lanes, she said.
The European Union is also opening up the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the funding instrument for the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), to Ukraine and Moldova, Valean said.
"This can be used to support cross-border projects to remove bottlenecks," she said.
Given the aforementioned "blending instruments", part of the 250 million euros to be allocated through the CEF is already starting to become available, she said.