TIRANA, November 20
Albania and Greece will improve cross-border transport through rail connection (passenger and freight) of total length 130 km between the city of Pogradec in southeastern Albania and Krystallopigi, located eight kilometers away from Kapshtica cross-border point. Details about the project that is funded by ‘2014-2020 Interreg IPA CBC Greece-Albania’ were unveiled on Monday during the launch of the program in the Greek city of Kastoria. The project is part of Egnatia Railway that extends for 565 km between the eastern and western ends of Greece, from Alexandroupolis to Igoumenitsa. Albania and Greece are currently connected only by modes of air, land and maritime transport.
“As one of the first common policy areas of today’s European Union, it was seen as vital for fulfilling three of the four freedoms of a common market as established in the Treaty of Rome in 1957: the free movement of individuals, services, and goods. Currently, the only available option for the transport of people and freight between Greece and Albania is via the road network and aviation. However, the need for a rail connection has already been established through European Policies and Regulations regarding the trans-European transport network,” the project description underlines.
Moreover, it highlights that the railway connection of the two countries is expected to contribute to the increase in economic traffic between the two sides and lead to significant benefits for local regional development, in terms of boosting trade activities, creating job opportunities, enhancing tourism, and facilitating the economic and social integration of Albania with the rest of the EU. Greek media reported that that the new line Florina – Kastoria – Pogradec will be part of the railway line Thessaloniki – Durres – Tirana – Montenegro – Serbia, which will strengthen the rail links both in the Western Balkans and the connections with Central Europe may turn into reality in a few years.
News Source: Protothema