Opening of motorway section in Republika Srpska highlights benefits of EU infrastructure financing

The first motorway section along Corridor 5c in the Republika Srpska (RS) to be completed, running from Johovac to Rudanka, was opened today at a ceremony attended by the Serb Member of the BiH Presidency, Milorad Dodik, the RS President Željka Cvijanović as well as representatives of the RS government, RS Autoputevi, EBRD and the EU Office in BiH.

The 6.1km section was completed thanks to an EU grant of €15 million, which facilitated further financing in the form of favourable loans worth almost €70 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Governments and taxpayers continue to benefit from the highly favourable financial conditions offered for EU-supported infrastructure projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moreover, by supporting connectivity in the Western Balkans as well as between the Western Balkans and the EU Single Market, which is the world’s largest economic area, EU-supported motorway projects along Corridor 5c deliver further economic benefits, as well as faster and safer journeys.

The Johovac to Rudanka section ensures a direct connection to the Banja Luka – Doboj motorway and the existing M17 main road in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It complements two other sections – Vukosavlje – Johovac and Rudanka – Putnikovo, being built by RS Autoputevi. Passenger and freight travel speed along the section will increase from 60 km/h to 100 and 120 km/h.

The success represented by the completion of the Johovac to Rudanka section takes place against a backdrop of political instability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which creates risks for future EU investment in infrastructure. EU financing for two infrastructure projects in the Republika Srpska along Corridor 5c remains suspended as a result of the political crisis.

The EU and its Member States continue to be Bosnia and Herzegovina’s largest and most loyal source of financing, as well as BiH’s biggest trading partner and investor. However, the country’s authorities are not using the full potential of EU funding mechanisms, with the risk of losing out on hundreds of millions of euros in investments in transport and energy infrastructure. The EU Office in BiH urges politicians not to miss the opportunities offered by the European Union, which present clear and irreplaceable benefits for BiH’s citizens.