Operational Programme 'Transport'

Under the Convergence objective, co-funded by European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund


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The European Commission approved the Operational Programme (OP) for Transport in Bulgaria for the period 2007-2013 on 7 November 2007. This programme involves Community support for all the Bulgarian regions within the framework of the "Convergence" objective, whose rational it is to promote growth-enhancing conditions and factors leading to real convergence for the least-developed Member States and regions. The total budget of the programme is a little over EUR 2 billion, with the Community investment financing on average 81 % through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Cohesion Fund (CF) amounts to EUR 1.6 billion.

1. The purpose and aim of the EU investment

The Operational Programme for Transport for Bulgaria presents an ambitious strategy for much-needed investments in Bulgaria’s transport infrastructure. The development strategy is in line with the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for Bulgaria, which in its turn is based on the Community Strategic Guidelines (CSG), as well as Community Transport Policy and Trans European Network policy objectives for transport.

The planned improvement of quality and safety of transport services applies not only to the national and regional level in Bulgaria, but also to cross-border and trans-European connections, aiming to fully integrate the Bulgarian transport system into the EU transport network.

2. Expected impact of the investments

By 2013, the projects supported by the European Union should result in 781 km of rehabilitated railway tracks, 880 km of rehabilitated motorways, 206 km of new motorways and 7.1 km new metro-line tracks with 11 metro stations.

3. Priorities

The Programme focuses on transport infrastructure investments that contribute most to sustainable economic growth, and thus to more and better jobs. At the same time the programme wants to contribute to reducing congestion, noise and pollution, and promote the use of environment-friendly modes of transport.

Priority 1: Railway transport infrastructure

Railway infrastructure along the Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T) and other major national transport axes need to be modernised, as well as connections between the main railway network of Republic of Bulgaria with the main railway networks of the neighbouring countries. This should allow rail transport in Bulgaria to provide better services and become more competitive and efficient, e.g. by improving connections and transfer opportunities with other modes of transport.

Major rail routes of national, cross-border and EU importance have priority, especially along the TEN-T priority axis 22 (Vidin-Sofia and Sofia-Pernik-Radomir railway lines), TEN-T sections linking to the European Priority Axes (Sofia-Dragoman and Sofia-Plodiv railway lines, renewal of sections along the Mezdra-Gorna Orjahovica railway line) and remaining sections of the TEN-T network (renewal of railway sections along the Plovdiv-Burgas railway line, electrification and reconstruction of the Svilengrad –Turkish border railway line, and

Priority 2: Road transport infrastructure

Bulgaria wants to make the most of its geo-strategic advantage as a transport bridge between Western and Central Europe, the Middle-East, Western and Middle Asia. This Programme Priority concentrates on development of road infrastructure along the Trans-European and major national transport axes. The most important operations under this Priority are : construction of new, and rehabilitation and modernization of existing motorways of nation-wide and EU importance along the TEN-T network (notably the TEN-T priority 7 from Greece via Sofia to Romania), existing I class roads, as well as II class roads of national and EU importance along the TEN-T network, plus road sections connecting the main road network of Bulgaria with the main road networks of neighbouring countries. Examples are the planned upgrading and/or construction of (parts of the) road I-1 (E 79) Vratza-Botevgrad, the Struma Motorway and the Maritza Motorway.

Priority 3: Inter-modal facilities for passenger and freight transport

The objective of this priority is making travelling conditions easier and facilitating modal transfers of passengers and freights to more environment friendly transport modes by improving the network of combined transport terminals, notably in the capital region of Sofia.

The main projects of this priority will be the extension of the Sofia Metro and the development (construction or upgrading) of several inter-modal transfer points inside Sofia’s public transport system, such as the Central Railway Station and the Sofia Terminal Airport Station. Elsewhere the development of freight villages will receive attention.

Priority 4: Improvement of the maritime and inland-waterway navigation

This priority targets the improvement of navigation along inland water-ways, notably the river Danube (TEN-T priority axes 18), removing bottlenecks in the two most critical sections in the joint Bulgarian-Romanian section of the Danube River (between km 530 and 520 – Batin and the section between km 576 and km 560 – Belene). This will include establishing a Vessel Traffic Management and Information system.

Priority 5: Technical assistance

Besides strengthening the administrative capacity, ensuring information and publicity, and managing, monitoring and evaluating the OP, crucial actions planned under this priority are the preparation of a General Transport Master Plan for Bulgaria, and the preparation of a Strategic Business Development Plan for the Development of Railway Transport.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Transport'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Railway infrastructure (TEN & national) 464 000 000 116 000 000 580 000 000
Road infrastructure (TEN & national) 791 669 892 197 917 473 989 587 365
Inter-modal transport 179 429 731 31 664 070 211 093 801
Maritime & inland-waterway navigation 133 322 500 23 527 500 156 850 000
Technical assistance 56 057 500 9 892 500 65 950 000
Total 1 624 479 623 379 001 543 2 003 481 166