BELGRADE, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Serbia signed a financial agreement worth 100 million euros (around 114 million U.S. dollars) with the European Investment Bank (EIB) here Friday on investments in river transport infrastructure, in order to fully integrate its waterways in the European transport network.
The agreement was signed by the country's Finance Minister Sinisa Mali and director for Slovenia, Croatia and the Western Balkans at the European Investment Bank Matteo Rivellini, at the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlovic, the government said in a press release.
After the signing, Mihajlovic, who is also the minister of transport, construction and infrastructure, said the country plans to invest more than 200 million euros in development of river transport infrastructure in the next five years, with the support of the EIB and the European Union (EU).
"The agreement signed today provides half of the total of more than 200 million euros of investments in river transport infrastructure, and the rest of the investment will be provided from the EU grants and the state budget," she said, estimating that this is one of the largest investments in the Danube in the last 15 years in Europe.
Mihajlovic added that the financial arrangement with the EIB will finance the reconstruction of the navigation locks "Djerdap 1" and "Djerdap 2", the expansion of the capacity of the Smederevo Port, the regulation of the Sava River waterway and the organization of critical sectors in the common part of the Danube between Serbia and Croatia.
The projects with the EIB also include the extraction of the submersed German fleet from the Second World War from the Danube, introduction of the hydro-meteorological station system as well as the improvement of the water traffic management system in Serbia.
Once the projects are realized, Mihajlovic said she expected the country to double the participation of waterways in the transport of goods and fully integrate waterways in Serbia into the European transport network.