European Union (EU), which is a long-standing partner of Azerbaijan, can support the projects in the country to be connected to the European transport system, since Azerbaijan is the initiator of big transport infrastructure projects in the region and is located at the intersection of trade routes, AzerNews reports.
The EU can provide financial support to Azerbaijan as part of the Trans-European Transport Network, EU Ambassador to Azerbaijan Kestutis Jankauskas has told Trend.
He underlined that a part of this network goes via Azerbaijan, adding that the country is primarily very well placed.
“The EU has a strategy and it also has a policy and instruments to support the parts of those transportation corridors, especially in the Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia and Azerbaijan,” the ambassador noted.
Jankauskas stressed that the EU issued the new connectivity strategy and basically EU-Asia connectivity strategy last year, adding that Azerbaijan is a middle of that.
The EU ambassador also pointed to the importance of the Lapis Lazuli transport and transit corridor, a part of which also passes through Azerbaijan. He said that it is a project that connects the Central Asia with Further East, China and Afghanistan.
According to the project of Lapis Lazuli, railway lines and highways will connect the city of Turgundi (Afghan province of Herat) with Ashgabat first and then with the Caspian port of Turkmenbashi. The corridor will continue to Baku, then through Tbilisi to Ankara with branches in Poti and Batumi, and then from Ankara to Istanbul.
The project budget, which aims to facilitate transit logistics and simplify customs procedures in the region, is estimated at $2 billion.
As an integral part of the expansion plan for the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) project, EU will spend about 2 billion euros on the expansion of the railway network in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The total investment in railway and road projects linking these countries is estimated at 2.120 billion euros. At least 328 million euros has been allocated to work on signaling, telecommunications and electrification on the section passing through the territory of Azerbaijan from the border of Georgia to the Baku port.
The European Commission (EC) and the World Bank have already submitted an Indicative Investment Action Plan in accordance with the priorities set out for these countries.
Together, the projects in the Eastern Partnership countries will require an estimated investment of almost 13 billion euros and foresee a total of 4,800 kilometers of road and rail, 6 ports and 11 logistics centers.
The projects in Azerbaijan, worth 1.1 billion euros, include creating five logistics centers (369 million euros) and a free trade zone in Alat (410 million euros) and modernization of the East-West Railway (328 million euros).
The projects will make possible the construction and rehabilitation of new and existing roads, rail, ports, airports, as well as logistics centers and border crossing points.