The EBRD is lending Montenegro €11.5mn to help rehabilitate important road networks and stabilise areas prone to landslides. It is the bank’s first project in the road sector in the republic.

The 15-year loan – guaranteed by Serbia and Montenegro – will help improve a portion of the road which links Mioska to Kolasin on the main Podgorica-Belgrade single carriageway. It will help build a new 1km climbing lane, extend existing tunnels and help stabilise high-risk slopes where landslides are both common and dangerous. A portion of the loan will also help upgrade 3km of road from Cetinje to Obzovica. Additionally, it will promote road-sector reforms at an institutional level.

Sue Barrett, EBRD deputy director for transport, says the project is very important for Montenegro because in addition to promoting road safety for residents, tourists and businesses, it will help promote broader reform in the sector. Improving administrative and institutional capabilities and streamlining institutions responsible for this sector is crucial for efficiency, she adds.

From its turquoise-coloured coastal waters to its charming towns and cities like Budva, Montenegro has a lot to offer its growing number of tourists. And as the only seaport link to Serbia, and the major road that connects Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to Albania, Kosovo and FYR Macedonia, this republic of 680,000 people is of strategic importance for business in the region.

Igor Luksic, Montenegro’s minister of finance, says the government of Montenegro is highly committed to improving road safety, efficiency and usability to benefit its residents, tourists and businesspeople. By working with the EBRD to improve such infrastructure, we are also helping to better connect countries in the Western Balkans, which will support the regional integration process, says Luksic.

An additional €485,000 to support institutional strengthening in offices responsible for the sector and to help assess any environmental impact from the project was provided by the European Agency for Reconstruction, while France is providing €750,000 to supervise forthcoming engineering works. By working with our partners like the EAR, and with support from donor countries such as France, we are helping to improve driving standards and reforms in Montenegro’s road sector, Barrett says.

The EBRD is the largest investor in Serbia and Montenegro, having committed nearly €800 million in 38 projects.