The European Investment bank (EIB) has provided a €40m loan to the Government of Montenegro to rehabilitate and upgrade five main roads with a total length of around 180km.

The project has secured a €1.5m technical assistance grant, which will support specialised professional services required to oversee the execution of the road works and in carrying out the project.

It is said to be the first ERI grant awarded to a project in the Western Balkans under the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI).

EIB vice-president Dario Scannapieco said: “We are committed to addressing the transport infrastructure gap through the financing of priority projects, in particular under the Connectivity Agenda.”

“Cooperation will be broadened not only in the road, rail and communal infrastructure sectors, but also in the education sector next year.”

The project aims to boost trade and regional integration by focussing on improving road conditions and safety.

Several bridges and tunnels will be reconstructed and rehabilitated.

Montenegro Finance Minister Darko Radunović said: “This programme of reconstruction of main roads in the country represents a continuation of the successful cooperation between the EIB and the State of Montenegro. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

“Cooperation will be broadened not only in the road, rail and communal infrastructure sectors, but also in the education sector next year.

“Regarding the terms of lending, this loan, in the amount of €40m, is characterised by a repayment period that cannot be longer than 20 years from the date of the first withdrawal of funds, while the grace period will be a maximum of five years.”

The EIB has financed around €720m to support 22 road and railway projects in Montenegro since 1977.