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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 29.11.2020, 19:23

Lithuania to receive much less extra funding for Rail Baltica than sought

BC, Vilnius, 16.07.2020.Print version
Lithuania is likely to be allocated a mere 30 million euros under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) on Friday, far below the 236 million euros in additional EU funding it sought for the construction of Rail Baltica's section from Kaunas to the Latvian border, Deputy Transport Minister Gytis Mazeika confirmed on July 16th, informs LETA/BNS.

"The amounts of money that are being provided to Lithuania now won't allow us to make much progress northwards," he told BNS. "We see a tendency for European funding not to keep pace with Lithuanian works."  

A total of 1.1 billion euros in CIF funding is planned to be allocated to important infrastructure projects on Friday. Some 606 million euros will likely be approved for the European standard-gauge railway project Rail Baltica, but 420 million euros of the money will go to Poland, according to Mazeika. 

All three Baltic countries applied for a total of 781.4 million in funding, but they will likely receive only around 186 million euros, including 30 million euros for construction works in Lithuania. 

"We submitted an application for over 236 million euros for the construction (of the line) from Kaunas to the border with Latvia alone, but there are simply no funds. Half of the call's funding is already allocated for the Rail Baltica project, and there are simply no funds left for our construction works," the vice-minister said. 

"We understand this from the way the discussion went there. We have plans ready and have launched procurement procedures, but, regrettably, no funds are available in Europe at the moment for these construction works," he added. 

The official expects that Lithuania will still be able to secure the necessary funding under next CIF calls for proposals likely to be launched this year and next year. Otherwise, there is a risk of Rail Baltic not being completed by 2026 as planned, according to him. 

Last month, Lithuania invited bids from potential contractors to build a section of almost 100 kilometers from Kaunas Intermodal Terminal northward to the Latvian border, with construction expected to begin in 2021. The total value of the project is 475 million euros.  

The overall length of the railway will be 870 kilometers, including 392 kilometers in Lithuania, 265 in Latvia and 213 in Estonia. The European gauge line is scheduled to be completed by 2026.

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