Bulgaria, North Macedonia to Speed Up Work on New Border Crossing

NW 17:51:01 25-01-2022

Bulgaria, North Macedonia
to Speed Up Work on New
Border Crossing

Sofia, January 25 (BTA) - Bulgaria and North Macedonia will speed up work for the opening of a new crossing on their common border, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Development and Public Works Minister Grozdan Karadjov agreed with Macedonian Transport and Communications Minister Blagoj Bochvarski and Local Self-Government Minister Goran Milevski at a meeting of the Working Group on Infrastructure, Transport and Connectivity here on Tuesday, Karadjov's Ministry said in a press release.

Bochvarski and Milevski are in Sofia for a joint meeting of the two governments.

The completion and rehabilitation of the roads leading to the Klepalo Border Checkpoint from Stroumyani, Bulgaria, and Berovo, North Macedonia, will be financed with 10.3 million euro under the bilateral Cross-Border Cooperation Programme 2021-2027.

Bulgaria has already started work on improving the 37-km road from Stroumyani to the border, the Ministry said.

At the meeting, Karadjov informed his counterparts that the Stanke Lisichkovo Border Checkpoint (on the road between Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, and Delchevo, North Macedonia) will be expanded shortly by adding new separate lanes for the processing of the increased traffic of passengers and vehicles and constructing new buildings to accommodate the passport and customs control services, which will shorten substantially waiting time at the border.

The ministers also discussed the finishing of Pan-European Transport Corridor VIII (Brindisi-Durres-Tirana-Skopje-Deve Bair-Gyueshevo-Sofia- Plovdiv-Bourgas/Varna-Poti-Batumi). Karadjov said that the corridor's road infrastructure in Bulgaria is constructed with the exception of the Black Sea Motorway (between Bourgas and Varna). Sofia prioritizes a widening of the 62-km Corridor VIII road section between Gyueshevo and Dupnitsa. Financing for the project has been planned in the three-year budget framework of the Road Infrastructure Agency.

The sides also discussed the preparation of the bilateral Cross-Border Cooperation Programme, which the European Commission is expected to approve shortly. The Programme will give the two countries access to over 31 million euro (almost double compared to the previous period) for the period ending in 2027. The funding is earmarked for the new border crossing and projects in environmental protection, regional connectivity, promotion of economic growth, culture, the natural heritage, sustainable tourism and security in the border regions. A total of 73 projects worth 18.1 million euro-plus were implemented in the two countries' border areas under the previous programme between 2014 and 2020. DT/LG//