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11 Feb 2022

Rosa Hergan, Bankwatch

Run over by a massive motorway project, Mostar residents demand to be heard

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11 February 2022

Touted as “the backbone of the country´s connectivity,” roughly half of the 700-kilometer motorway interlinking Budapest with the port city Ploce on Croatia’s Adriatic coastline cuts through the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), and jeopardizes residents’ livelihoods along its way...

Serious questions about the current design’s environmental and social impacts, on top of the obscured decision-making process behind it, have sparked a series of local opposition by a group of citizens from different communities. To varying degrees these people are directly and indirectly affected by the land expropriation for the project, by planned construction activities and ultimately by the operation of the motorway...

...[T]he public company, JP Autoceste, moved on with the expropriation of properties and homes located directly on the motorway in the South of Mostar. Despite ongoing local opposition and the submission of two complaints to the independent complaint mechanisms of the international financiers, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the EBRD, JP Autoceste claims that the progress made on expropriation demonstrates public support for the project.

Echoing citizens’ complaints to the Banks, Bankwatch found the banks to fail several of their own standards that imbue them with the obligation to ensure protection of local people’s rights and biodiversity.

To obtain the full support from local residents for the subsection in the south of Mostar, the EBRD and its project promoter, JP Autoceste, need to conduct additional studies and an analysis of alternative routes that will do less harm and will receive “social license” from affected local people...