Bulgarian Finance Minister Assen Vassilev: Bulgaria counts on EIB to finance North - South Corridor

"Bulgaria works exceptionally well with the European Investment Bank (EIB). We have various projects, with major investments in energy and infrastructure. Some of the projects started even before Bulgaria joined the EU and have been successfully completed," Bulgarian Finance Minister Assen Vassilev told a news conference here on 28 February, quoted by his Ministry in a press release.

"After Nadia Calvino was elected EIB President at the end of 2023, the financial institution is set to become far more active and quick in loan financing and to enter some not quite traditional sectors, such as the defence industry and especially dual use goods," Vassilev said. In his opinion, the bank's expanded mandate is good for Bulgarian industry, given Bulgaria's substantial presence in these sectors.

"Bulgaria has a very serious infrastructure enhancement programme," the Finance Minister pointed out. He added that the country is working hard with Greece and Romania on structuring the North-South corridor, starting with a motorway and a fast rail route linking Alexandroupolis [on the Aegean] with Ruse and Silistra [on the Danube]. An intergovernmental agreement is being drafted, and arrangements are being made to incorporate a joint company to manage this significant project so that it would be resilient against potential political turmoil. Vassilev said that Bulgarian institutions will be working with the EIB as a financing partner.

The Finance Minister also said that the setting up of a central-level fund for modernization of buses in a large part of cities and their replacement by electric buses had been discussed in preliminary talks with President Calvino. "This requires a capital investment, and I think this is one of the major projects included in the EIB priorities that can be considered in the coming year and a half," Vassilev said.