Chinese PM Invites Intl Banks to Participate in Bulgaria-Greece Rail Project

Chinese PM Invites Intl Banks to Participate in Bulgaria-Greece Rail Project
Παρ, 6 Ιουλίου 2018 - 14:40

China is inviting international banks to finance a project for the construction of a high-speed railway linking Bulgaria's Black Sea coast to Greece's Aegean ports, Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang said on Friday

"Such a project should be carried out in a transparent way and I invite third parties to participate, for example, international organisations and banks," Keqiang said speaking through an interpreter during a news conference after a meeting with Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov broadcast by Bulgarian TV channel Kanal 3.

A consortium can be established with international banks for the construction of the high-speed railway, while other formats of cooperation are also acceptable, Keqiang said. In September 2017, Bulgaria signed a memorandum of understanding with Greece on the development of a high-speed railway corridor linking major Greek Aegean ports with Bulgarian ports on the Danube river and the Black Sea coast. The project aims to combine road, rail, river and sea transport by linking by rail the Greek cities of Thessaloniki, Kavala and Alexandroupolis to Burgas, Varna and Ruse in Bulgaria and is expected to attract large investors from the Middle East, China, Russia and other major markets, the Bulgarian government said back then. China is also ready to cooperate with Bulgaria in the field of nuclear energy, Keqiang said.

"China is already cooperating with some nuclear powers in Europe for the peaceful use of nuclear energy and I believe that this is also a possibility for cooperation between China and Bulgaria," the Chinese prime minister said. In addition, China is interested in the use of the existing nuclear equipment for peaceful purposes, Keqiang said in an obvious reference to the equipment manufactured by Russia's Atomstroyexport for Bulgaria's Belene nuclear power plant - an unfinished project which Bulgaria's government is set to revive.

In May, the Bulgarian energy ministry said that China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) confirmed its interest in the implementation of the Belene NPP project. Following a decision of Bulgaria's parliament in March, a working group within the energy ministry is exploring options for the use of the manufactured equipment for the Belene project, which Bulgaria abandoned with a parliament decision in February 2013. Bulgaria is interested in developing transparent procedures with China through the use of the expertise of the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Borisov said during the news conference. "We have been studying each other so far. From now on, we begin carrying out transparent procedures on hybrid projects with the World Bank and EBRD, so that Europe can be calm," Borisov said. On July 6 and 7, Bulgaria's capital Sofia hosts the seventh summit of heads of government of China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), also known as the 16+1 format.


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