YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The European Union and the World Bank have allocated over 730 million euros ($832 million) for investments in Armenia’s transport infrastructure that will be made by 2030, a senior EU official confirmed on Friday.
The loans and grants are part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Investment Action Plan announced by them last week. It is designed to “boost connectivity and economic growth” in six former Soviet republics included in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program.
“Together, the projects will require an estimated investment of almost €13 billion and foresee a total of 4,800 kilometers of road and rail, 6 ports, and 11 logistics centers,” the World Bank and the EU said in a joint statement.
“Those projects will make possible the construction and rehabilitation of new and existing roads, rail, ports, airports as well as logistical centers and border crossing points,” they said.
Armenia will be eligible for 732 million euros worth of such funding, added the statement.
“This huge program of connectivity will bring Armenia and the European Union closer together,” Piotr Switalski, the head of the EU Delegation in Yerevan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
“Some of the projects are already being implemented in Armenia,” he said.
Switalski pointed to the ongoing reconstruction of two Armenian highways running from Yerevan to the Georgian border. The EU has contributed over 90 million euros in loans and 15 million euros in grants to the effort, he said.
The diplomat also mentioned the 54 million-euro modernization of Armenia’s three border checkpoints with Georgia which was carried out from 2013-2017.The EU provided the bulk of the sum in the form of a grant and a loan.
According to the joint statement by the World Bank and the EU, road projects launched in Armenia as part of TEN-T are worth more than 200 million euros.
The bank and the 28-nation bloc have allocated much greater sums for similar projects in Georgia and Azerbaijan: 3.4 billion euros and 2.8 billion euros respectively.
“What we have as a result, this initial outline, is the reflection of the expectations of the Armenian side,” Switalski said when asked to explain the difference.