The European Union has long dreamed about Europe without boundaries. Thus, the largest EU railway project is on the horizon in order to ensure the smooth flow of goods and passengers across the Old Continent.
To make it real, they prepared nine injections, i.e. nine rail corridors. By their injecting, they would prompt trade within the European Union, breaking the physical and political barriers at the borders.
The Mediterranean Corridor is one of these directions. It is the main east-west axis in the TEN-T Network south of the Alps. It runs between the southwestern Mediterranean region of Spain and the Ukrainian border with Hungary, following the coastlines of Spain and France and crossing the Alps towards the east through Italy, Slovenia and Croatia and continuing through Hungary to its eastern border with Ukraine.
However, there is a shadow over this sunny corridor. The route passes through Catalonia, a province with 7,5 million inhabitants, where the demand for independence erupted. The new Catalan government has not yet been established. ‘’Catalan instability poses a risk to the Mediterranean Corridor. It is a risk on the way of making this corridor become a reality’’, commented Lluís Gay, the president of the German company DB Schenker in charge of Spain and Portugal.
‘’We need stability to concentrate on completing the corridor by 2030’’, said Laurens Jan Brinkhost, the European coordinator in charge for the Mediterranean Corridor.
The construction of the Mediterranean Corridor, also known as Corridor 6, was agreed in Brussels in 2013. The Croatian part would stretch from Rijeka through Zagreb to Budapest, and one from Zagreb to Ljubljana. Members of the management of HŽ Infrastruktura, a public company which controls Croatian railways, were at the Adifa headquarters in Madrid at the end of January. Nikola Ljuban, Marko Žubrinić and the State Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure Nikolina Brnjac requested Adifa's counselling in the modernization of the Croatian route, and in turn promised to support Spain in Brussels in matters related to the corridor.
The European Commission estimates that it will need an investment of 104 billion Euros by 2030 for this 7,000 kilometre-long corridor. Out of that amount, 77 billion Euros will be needed for the railroad itself.