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The EU is heavily driven and built by a Chinese state company: a bridge that makes Dubrovnik within reach of Croatia without driving through Bosnia |  Abroad

The EU is heavily driven and built by a Chinese state company: a bridge that makes Dubrovnik within reach of Croatia without driving through Bosnia | Abroad

A new bridge opened in Croatia, on Tuesday evening, connecting the southern coast, including the tourist city of Dubrovnik, to the rest of the country. The bridge makes it possible to bypass a small piece of Bosnian territory.

The new bridge connects the Dalmatian mainland with the Pelísac Peninsula. In this way, the southern Croatian coast is immediately connected to the rest of the country. Until now, these two regions were separated from each other by a 22-kilometer coastal strip belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As a result, motorists on their way to Dubrovnik had to cross the border between Croatia, an EU member state, and Bosnia and Herzegovina twice, causing disruption. During the peak tourist season in particular, people sometimes had to wait hours to drive in and out of Bosnia.

Aerial view of Belgicak Bridge © AP

The 2.4-kilometre-long building, which rests on reinforced concrete towers nearly 100 meters high, opened festively Tuesday evening with a grand ceremony and fireworks. In his speech, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic spoke of a “historic day for Croatia”. The bridge has been dubbed “Project Generation, Object of Pride”.

Construction cost 418 million euros. The European Union paid 357 million euros (or 85%) of this amount. Remarkably, the bridge was constructed by the state-owned China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), which won it from its European competitors in a public tender. In a video message, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang expressed the hope that the successful project would contribute to improving cooperation between China and the European Union.



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