New Belgrade bridge opened after major summit symbolises growing business links between China and the Balkans.
The first new bridge built across the Danube in Belgrade for 79 years opened on schedule this afternoon.
Named after the physicist Mihajlo Pupin – the scientist and inventor and founder member of what became NASA – the 1.5km bridge crosses to the west of the city and will primarily divert transit trucks from the city centre.
Pupin’s Bridge is the first of many major infrastructure projects to be financed and built by Chinese companies in Europe.
China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang cut the ribbon.
The ceremony also marked the end of The Third Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries held this week in Belgrade.
Sixteen regional heads of government and 5,000 delegates attended.
Headline news was the signing of contracts to build a new high speed rail line between Belgrade and Budapest but scores of other agreements were made including thirteen with Serbia alone.
The new contracts include telecommunications, agriculture and energy but many are for new roads.
The China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) is currently engaged on the Corridor XI motorway from Belgrade south towards the Montenegro border.
The Montenegrin government announced last week that CCCC will build the first and most difficult section of Bar-Boljare motorway – from the Adriatic coast to eventually connect with Corridor XI – starting next year.
As with Pupin’s Bridge, 85% of the finance will come from China’s Exim bank.