Budapest, September 15 (MTI) – Rail transport developments are crucial for preserving and increasing Hungary’s competitiveness, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said at a rail transport conference on Thursday.
Hungary’s aim with its railway projects is making sure that it becomes an indispensable point in central Europe in terms of logistics, Szijjártó said.
The minister named the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, the development of the railway line connecting Slovenia’s Koper port with Hungary and integrating western Hungary into the continent’s north-south rail network as the most important rail development projects needed to boost the country’s competitiveness.
Szijjártó said the stakeholders in the Budapest-Belgrade rail line upgrade agree that the project should be carried out according to European Union rules. The cost of upgrading the Hungarian section is now estimated at 550 billion forints (EUR 1.77bn), Szijjártó said, noting that when work on the line is complete, trains of up to a speed of 160kmh will be able to travel on the upgraded double-track line.
He said China would submit its financing offer for the project by late October. Hungarian railway company MÁV and its Chinese partner will establish a joint venture to carry out the project. This newly-formed company will then sign an agreement on the loan scheme for the project’s financing by early November, Szijjártó added.