Hungary, Austria eye €162 mln railway upgrade plans

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Hungary and Austria are planning on developing the railway network between the two countries by tapping funding from President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junckerʼs €315 bln investment plan, an official of the foreign ministry said, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

If the €162 mln development plan cannot be financed from “the Juncker Package”, alternative funding sources must be found, Levente Magyar, the state secretary in charge of economic diplomacy, said at a conference in Sopron, near the Austrian border.

The Governor of Burgenland Hans Niessl said at the conference that relaying tracks between the Oberwart and Szombathely stations would cost €130 mln, of which Austria would cover €89 mln and Hungary €30 mln, MTI reported, adding that the Sopron-Ebenfurth railway upgrade would cost €43 mln, with Austria contributing €33 mln and Hungary €10 mln.

According to the governor, the developments would create approximately 2,200 jobs near the border as well as bring other economic advantages to the region.

The move comes in spite of tensions between the two leaders fueled by Juncker’s questioning of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s policies. Last year, Orbán went so far as to say that he would not support Jean-Claude Juncker in becoming the president of the European Commission, “even if the [center-right] European People’s Party (EPP) wins the EP elections”. 

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