Adriatic-Ionian Transport Infrastructure Needs Investment to Integrate

By , 25 May 2018, 12:11 PM Business
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STA, 25 May 2018 - The Slovenian representative at the forum of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region (EUSAIR) in Italy's Catania on Friday noted that the transport network in the countries along the Adriatic and Ionian seas were in dire need for major investments. 

Franc Žepič of the Ministry of Infrastructure said that there were huge differences among the eight EUSAIR member countries, adding that the extensive railway network was poorly exploited, while road links were full of passenger and cargo traffic.

There are numerous major projects which have not moved from the conceptual level, Žepič said, noting that one of these examples was the Adriatic-Ionian corridor, a motorway link between Italy and Greece.

He believes that the differences between countries should be eliminated with investments. When it comes to corridors of regional, macro-regional and European importance, the EU should provide much more aid to small countries, he added.


Slovenia alone does not need a super-fast railway link between Koper and Ljubljana, but it is different when it is a part of a corridor between Milan and Budapest or even further, Žepič explained.

It is difficult for Montenegro, with a population of half a million, to build motorways on a hilly terrain, where a kilometre of motorway costs between EUR 15m and EUR 20m or even more, he added.

Žepič also pointed to the importance of new technologies which dictate progress both in the construction of transport infrastructure and in travel, including digitalisation, electric vehicles and alternative fuels.

"Interoperability is of key importance in new technologies," he said, suggesting that it should be possible to use the Slovenian electronic tolling system DarsGo in Austria and vice versa.

"The relevant EU directive already envisages this and demands this to a certain extent, but countries unfortunately have it their own way," Žepič added.

As the coordinator for the environment in the EUSAIR, Slovenia has meanwhile received full support to draft and implement a plan for the prevention and action in cases of disasters at sea caused by pollution from maritime transport.

Slovenia coordinates together with Bosnia-Herzegovina environmental projects which are important for each member country, but cannot be implemented at the national level alone, Mitja Bricelj of the Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry told the STA.

He added that waste management at sea was among the concrete topics. "Our project has been confirmed, including the financial resources."

Learn more about EUSAIR here.

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