EU okays grants for Bosnian infrastructure

The European Union (EU) has given the green light to €303 million ($330.3 million) worth of grants for infrastructure projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The approved funds are part of the EU’s broader investment package of €2.1 billion for the western Balkans, with the primary focus on the country’s autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation, rather than its Serb region.

The grants will support several key projects within the Bosniak-Croat Federation, aimed at improving crucial infrastructure and enhancing connectivity in the region. Among the initiatives, two sections of a north-to-south pan-European highway, connecting Budapest with the Croatian port of Ploce, will be constructed, fostering better transportation links and trade opportunities.

Additionally, funds will be allocated for the improvement of water supply in the capital city, Sarajevo, addressing vital needs for clean and accessible water resources. Furthermore, a southern hydro-power plant’s pump storage will undergo rehabilitation, contributing to sustainable energy solutions for the region.

Notably, all four approved projects are based in the Bosniak-Croat Federation, with no projects from the country’s Serb-dominated Serb Republic receiving approval. The EU has expressed concerns over secessionist rhetoric and actions undermining the Bosnian state, particularly from the Serb Republic’s President, Milorad Dodik. However, sanctions have not been imposed on him at this stage.

The €303 million in grants represents more than half of the total €528 million approved for the region in grants from the EU’s pre-accession assistance instrument. This financial package also includes additional contributions from EU member states and Norway, along with loans from international financing institutions.

The EU’s investment aims to bolster infrastructure, foster economic growth, and enhance regional cooperation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. By focusing on the Bosniak-Croat Federation, the bloc aims to address crucial developmental needs and contribute to the overall stability and prosperity of the western Balkans.

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