The Slovenia Times

Incompetence?: Slovenia Turning to EU Experts on Funds for Rail Track


Government officials are due to meet with the commission's experts on Thursday to discuss possibilities for what has become the country's main infrastructure project, Infrastructure Minister Peter Gašperšič told the press on Wednesday.

Speaking after a cabinet session, Gašperšič said the government will use the information from the meeting to form a final proposal for tapping into EU funds to carry out the project.

Slovenia is currently in a race against time, as it must file an application for funding for the project from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) by 26 February if it wants to start the project this year.

The country recently announced it intends to carry out the project whose value is estimated at EUR 1.4bn as a public-private partnership.

The second track is seen as essential for preventing bottleneck in access to the port as it increases transshipment capacity in a competition against its Northern Adriatic rivals.

With state funding in short supply, Slovenia plans to rely on EU funding and hopes to attract a private investor, although business officials have openly voiced doubts about finding a private partner.

Gašperšič said today the government remained hopeful it could secure a large chunk of money from the EU. As part of this it debated the role of the second track on the EU transport corridor passing through Slovenia to Austria and Hungary.

But as part of this the country would have to invest in the entire rail line, not just the section from Koper to Divača. Total EU funds available to Slovenia for investments in the corridor through 2020 are estimated at EUR 700m.

The government plans to craft the financial plan for the second track around the CEF funds and the injection from a private partner, said Gašperšič.

However, he admitted that it had not decided how it would go about finding a private partner. "We will first gauge interest among potential investors...based on that we will publish a tender for private partners," the minister said.


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