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PODGORICA (Montenegro), July 9 (SeeNews) – Montenegro's government plans to study a China-funded project for connecting the railway line linking Serbia's Belgrade and Hungary's Budapest to seaports in Montenegro and Albania, Montenegrin prime minister Dusko Markovic said.
The preparation of a feasibility study for the project is expected to start right after the end of the seventh summit of heads of government of China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), also known as the 16+1 format, that was held in Bulgaria's capital Sofia on July 6 and 7, Markovic said in a statement.
"We expect that the feasibility study will examine the possibilities for connecting the future Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railway with ports in Montenegro and Albania in the period after the summit," Markovic said.
Serbia's government said in November it launched the project for the overhaul of the Belgrade-Stara Pazova section of the Belgrade-Budapest railway line. It is the first cross-border project carried out by Serbia, Hungary and China in the framework of the 16+1 mechanism.
The '16+1' is an initiative of the Chinese government for closer economic cooperation with 11 EU member states and five non-EU countries of the Western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. The initiative intersects with the Chinese government's One Belt, One Road development strategy under which China plans to invest hundreds of billions of euro in other countries in Asia and in Europe in a bid to strengthen its role in global affairs.
However, the initiative, which envisages large investments in infrastructure and technologies in these 11 countries which China views as a bridge to the EU, has raised concerns in the EU institutions that it runs counter to the common law, as it could allow Chinese companies to circumvent the bloc's import duties and anti-dumping tariffs.