The TRINCON 2011 Transport Investment Conference, bringing together around 150 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, was held in Sarajevo on Tuesday. This was the first time the conference, organised by the South East European Transport Observatory (SEETO) with support from the BiH Transport Ministry and the European Commission, has been held in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The development of transport infrastructure in the Western Balkans is vital both for local economies and for the entire European Union. Lying at the heart of one of the most potentially vibrant transit links between southern and northern Europe and Western and Eastern Europe, the region stands to benefit enormously if it can upgrade its transport infrastructure, a fact that is particularly significant as it struggles to address pressures arising from the global financial crisis.
“This is an important conference and it is clear that any progress that is going to be made in terms of transport network will only be made in a regional context,“ said Renzo Daviddi, Acting Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Stressing the importance of transport infrastructure for economic growth, Daviddi noted that participants at the conference are defining priorities that can attract investment in the near future. He also emphasised the usefulness of establishing personal contact among stakeholders from around the region, as a means of fostering political stability.
Marjeta Jager, Director at the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), at the European Commission, stressed that the overall objective of the conference in Sarajevo was to present mature projects to investors. She said this was particularly important in the present period since investment in transport infrastructure has fallen, and she highlighted the need to look at transport from a regional rather than a national perspective.
BiH Transport Minister Rudo Vidović said the economic situation could be improved as a result of major construction projects such as Corridor 5C, which entails overall expenditure in the region of 500 million Euros.
“Besides the highway, Bosnia and Herzegovina is also interested in the construction and modernisation of infrastructure routes, and various projects with our neighbours, and this conference is evidence of that,” Vidović said. “Through this joint approach to the European Commission and with the help of IPA funds we can get development moving.” He commended the BiH Presidency for the support it has given to the TRINCON 2011 Conference.
Vidović recalled that at its latest session the BiH Council of Ministers gave its support to signing a memorandum prepared by the Ministries of Transport and Communication of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania on modernising and reconstructing the Sarajevo-Podgorica-Tirana corridor.
SEETO was established on 11 June 2004 under a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of the Core Regional Transport Network (MoU), signed by the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo. The objective of the organisation is to enhance cooperation on developing the regional transport infrastructure network in Southeast Europe.