The article discusses the Bar-Boljare highway in Montenegro, which was built with a loan from China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The highway was meant to boost trade and tourism but has caused controversy and put Montenegro in heavy debt. The cost of the project has led to fiscal challenges for the country, and it has also had detrimental effects on the environment, particularly the UNESCO-protected Tara River Gorge.
Furthermore, the project has raised concerns about transparency and has prompted backlash from local activists. Other countries involved in the BRI, such as Argentina and Pakistan, are also grappling with similar debt-related issues. Despite these challenges, in March 2023, Montenegro awarded new road contracts to Chinese firms for another project, indicating ongoing engagement with China. The future of the remaining sections of the highway remains uncertain.
The article emphasizes the impacts of the BRI on Montenegro and other countries, including fiscal strain, environmental damage, and lack of transparency in deals with China. It sheds light on the complexities and controversies surrounding the BRI projects and their long-term implications.
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