Thursday, 21 June 2018

Belgrade - Budapest rail upgrade

This analysis of the planned revitalisation of the railway between two of the old  Soviet bloc states appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of all places. I guess that the Australians are particularly sensitive to the spread of influence on the part of China, which is funding the upgrade through loans to the Hungarian government.

The article suggests that the project is attractive to the Orban administration, and has therefore been rushed through, because of the opportunities for graft. The appeal to the Chinese is that it would improve a link through Greece and FYROM (soon to be North Macedonia) from the port of Piraeus, which it has bought, to northern Europe. Greece will presumably welcome increased economic activity. Railway enthusiasts will be happy at another rail infrastructure improvement. One imagines that the Russians will be less happy, as an axis of trade will be turned more north-south than east-west, weakening her links with her former satellite nations.

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