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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 13.07.2020, 00:40

Kallas: EU’s support should be focused on visible transeuropean projects

Danuta Pavilenene, BC, Vilnius, 15.07.2011.Print version
On his visit to Lithuania, European Commission's (EC) Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport did not rush to forecast the amount of financial assistance to Lithuania’s infrastructure projects as the European Union (EU) financial perspective 2014-2020 is yet to be approved. He only stressed that the support will depend on a member-state's capacities of drafting projects, while the European Commission proposes granting bigger financial support to the projects.

The EC deputy president also dispersed a common worry of some member-states that the EU assistance in the following financial perspective might be too scattered. At least in the field of transport, as he claims, the support is planned to be focused on more visible transeuropean projects, reports LETA/ELTA,


"It does not make any sense to allocate small amounts of money in the transport field," Kallas said. "The Parliament will approve the budget. The Commission's joint proposal is to allocate more funds to the infrastructure and transport projects, particularly in the eastern part of the EU," Kallas added.


Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius stressed that Lithuania's priority and orientation towards the high-technologies remains unchanged, and at the same time, it tallies with a goal of having a modern infrastructure. "It is very important that the Commission has highlighted the financing of the transeuropean connections in a special programme. It allows expecting that energy and transport connections which are of high importance to us will be efficiently financed, depending of how efficient we will be in drafting and implementing particular projects," Kubilius said.


Transport Minister Eligijus Masiulis says that the European Commission should pay more attention to Rail Baltica since some member states are rather passive in implementing the project.


The transport minister Friday discussed the progress of Rail Baltica with Deputy President of the European Commission Siim Kallas responsible for transport.


"Lithuania has made the biggest progress in this project. The first stage of building the European railway from Mockava to Sestokai has been practically completed. Design works continue in other sections stretching to Kaunas," said Masiulis.


Rail Baltica is considered to be one of the strategic projects which are aimed to link the Baltic railway system to Western Europe.


"But some of the participants are rather passive in the project, in our opinion. Naturally, it is caused by the lack of money. We think that the European Commission should be more active in coordinating the project. The European railway from Tallinn to Warsaw must be built as soon as possible. It must be taken into account when deciding on European budget allocations to the transport infrastructure," the transport minister said.


The European railway from the Polish border to Kaunas is estimated to cost about 850 million litas. Part of the costs will be covered by the European Union.


Lithuania also wants the EU to allocate support in 2014-2020 to the European railway section from Kaunas to the Latvian border.


Lithuania would like to see the European Commission representing the interests of European Union member states in their talks with Russia more often, Transport Minister Eligijus Masiulis said in a meeting with Deputy President of the European Commission .


Masiulis gave talks on the number of bilateral and trilateral permits to transport companies as an example. Currently, each EU country holds separate negotiations with Russia on the number of the permits. "It is more difficult for smaller states to achieve more favourable agreements in talks. If the European Commission coordinated the talks, both sides would have equal negotiating leverage," Masiulis was quoted as saying in a press release of the Transport Ministry. More active involvement of the EC would also be welcome when third countries change rules for the imports from the European Union. The last time Lithuanian road hauliers had troubles with the imports was in February, when long queues of trucks formed at the border with Russia.


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