EU – Baltic States, Latvia, Legislation, Railways, Transport

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 23.11.2017, 16:33

Forging intergovernmental agreement about Rail Baltica not an easy task

BC, Riga, 30.05.2016.Print version
One should not harbor any illusions about quick progress in finalizing the intergovernmental agreement between the three Baltic States about the European-gauge railway project, Rail Baltica project, the Latvian Transport Ministry official said on the public Latvian Radio today, cites LETA.

Dins Merirands, the deputy state secretary of the Latvian Transport Ministry and a board member in Eiropas Dzelzcela Linijas (EDL, European Railway Lines), the Latvian shareholder in RB Rail that is implementing the Rail Baltica project, said intensive consultations were under way between the three countries but avoided criticizing Lithuania for putting a spoke in the wheel.

 

He said it was not that Lithuania had objections to some specific aspects of the agreement. Simply there are a lot of details in the documents that need to be clarified therefore one should not expect quick progress in finalizing the agreement, Merirands said.

 

He avoided giving a straight answer to the question whether bickering among the Baltic states might threaten the EU financing earmarked for the Rail Baltica, saying only that the process had nothing to do with the first phase of the project – a tender of drawings for renovation of the Riga Central Railway Station and construction of a new railway bridge – and everything was happening in accordance with the timetable.

 

A week ago Merirands told the Latvian lawmakers that it was important that the Baltic states concluded an intergovernmental agreement on Rail Baltica as soon as possible to make progress and demonstrate that they had a common stance on the project, otherwise the financing to the project might be threatened.

 

As reported, the Rail Baltica project deals with construction of a new 1,435 millimeter standard-gauge railroad in the Baltic countries. The European Commission has allotted Latvia EUR 238 million for the first round of the project.

 

By 2020, the three Baltic states will receive a total of EUR 442.2 million (co-funding of 81.83 percent) for this project.

 

The Rail Baltica II project seeks to re-establish a direct connection between the Baltic states and the European railway network. The project is expected to facilitate regional integration by means of a railway link from Helsinki that would link Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas, Warsaw and Berlin and might potentially be extended to Venice.

 

EDL is fully owned by the Latvian state and in 2014 became a founder and shareholder of RB Rail, the Baltic joint venture for implementation of Rail Baltica project. EDL holds 33.33% in RB Rail or the same amount as each of the shareholders representing Lithuania and Estonia.






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