“The establishment of the Budapest-Bratislava-Brno-Warsaw high-speed railway link is the joint political will of the Visegrád Group (V4)”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in a statement to Hungarian public media from Štrbské Pleso (Csorbató, Slovakia) following a meeting of V4 (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) transport ministers in Monday.

“We have come to the joint decision to establish a high-speed rail link between the capitals of the V4, on the Budapest-Bratislava-Brno-Warsaw route”, Mr. Szijjártó said, pointing out that “The decision mirrors the political will of all four countries”. The public procurement tender for the preparation of the feasibility study will already be published this week, and in November a quadrilateral working group will be convened, which will be tasked with keeping the feasibility studies within the framework set out by our political decisions, he explained.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister told the press that it will take around six months for the public procurement procedure relating to the feasibility study to be completed, following which further planning will take about a year and a half. “We would have liked this to occur more rapidly, but our partners asked that we set aside this time in view of the length of the new railway line”, he added.

A political decision was also made with relation to the fact that the establishment of the high-speed rail link requires the construction of a totally new dual track railway line that enables speeds of at least 250 kilometres/hour. According to plan, the high-speed trains that will be running along the new line will only stop at the capitals of the countries involved, or Brno in the case of the Czech Republic, he explained.

In reply to a question form the press concerning the financing of the project, Mr. Szijjártó said that Monday’s meeting was also attended by representatives of the European Investment Bank (EIB), who are expressing interest in the project. He pointed out that the EIB has already financed many rail projects, although only 14 percent of them were Central European to date.

“It is time for Central Europe to also make better use of the EIB’s related drawdown opportunity (…), but we must recognise that this is not funding, but a loan, and accordingly we agreed to regard competition as authoritative with relation to financial resources”, said the Hungarian Foreign Minister, according to whom the V4 will also be examining the loan offers of international financing institutions. The project is being handled as a “typically Visegrád” investment project, and the resources required for its realisation will also be jointly negotiated by the V4, he added.