Montenegro’s Chinese-built priority section of the Bar–Boljare Highway was ceremonially opened on Wednesday’s (13 July 2022) Statehood Day celebration near the capital of Podgorica.
The Bar–Boljare Highway will connect Montenegro’s more developed south with its underdeveloped north, and forms part of the envisioned Corridor XI linking Montenegro with Italy, Serbia, and Romania.
A public call for tenders by the Montenegro Government in 2008 to build a priority section of the highway failed to move the plan forward. The project began moving only in 2014, when the Montenegro Government agreed on a credit arrangement with the Export–Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) and signed a contract with the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) to build the priority section.
Montenegro’s BRI status:
In May 2017, during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, the Montenegro Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Montenegro is also part of the 16+1 cooperation mechanism between China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries—a platform launched in 2012 and renamed the 17+1 after Greece joined in 2019.
Although it was formed slightly before the BRI was launched, the 16(17)+1 mechanism has now been de facto subsumed under the BRI and serves to facilitate regional cooperation within the BRI.
Sources: New China News, 15 Jul 2022; Montenegro – People’s Map of China, 30 July 2021.