No specific agreements have been made with Russia regarding the so-called broad-gauge railway project, Transport Ministry spokesman Martin Kóňa told the TASR newswire on May 14.
The railway track under discussion would connect Russia, Ukraine and Austria via a route through Slovakia. Kóňa added that a final decision has not been made on whether the project will be undertaken and will include Slovakia.
"That's why it's premature to speculate about deadlines or financing," Kóňa stated, as quoted by TASR, adding that the project will only be given approval if it proves to be economically feasible. "The only thing that's clear is that Slovakia doesn't have enough of its own resources to finance such a project," the spokesman said, adding that negotiations could take a long time.
According to MP Viliam Novotný from the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the broad-gauge railway project running from the east of the Slovakia to Austria makes no sense and would put many jobs in eastern Slovakia at risk.
"Cargo [the state-owned freight railway company] could lose a large numbers of commissions, jobs will be endangered, and eastern Slovakia will lose one of its few advantages," Novotný stated, as quoted by TASR, adding that jobs will be transferred to Vienna instead.
TASR wrote that currently there is a transhipment point at Čierna nad Tisou in Košice Region where goods are unloaded and reloaded between the broad-gauge and narrow-gauge rail lines.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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