Bulgaria and the World Bank to Support Bulgarian Railway Sector Development

December 15, 2010

SOFIA, December 15, 2010 – The Government of Bulgaria today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The World Bank aimed at providing support to the country’s railway sector.

The memorandum elaborates on an earlier agreement between Bulgaria and The World Bank, signed over the summer by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov and World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick, agreeing to step up cooperation between the two in the development of Bulgaria’s infrastructure.

World Bank support for Bulgaria’s railway sector is needed in order to place the sector on a financially sustainable footing. This MoU, while not detailing exact amounts of financial support, outlines key priorities for reforms in the sector.

By signing on to this memorandum, the Government of Bulgaria has commited its support for implementing reforms aimed at establishing a financially sustainable railway sector that is aligned with EU standards and policies, as part of prudent fiscal policy.

As a result of these reforms, it is hoped that national carrier, BDZ, and national infrastructure operator, NRIC; will achieve higher levels of service, through increased labor productivity and efficiency.
World Bank financial support will be focused on the reforms, and a final amount will be negotiated with the Government in the coming months.

The MoU also makes clear that the main bulk of investments in Bulgaria’s railway sector should come though EU funding under the OP Transport. The World Bank’s investment funding will be complimentary to EU support, and only for measures directly linked to Bulgarian government railway reforms agenda.