Kucinskis hopes that progress in moving forward with Rail Baltica project will be achieved through talks

05. September 2016 zur Übersicht

Aritkel erschienen am 3.09.2016 in Baltic Daily

Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis (Greens/Farmers) believes that progress in moving forward with the Rail Baltic project can be achieved through talks.

The prime minister that the only way to achieve progress in moving forward with the project is through talks with the Lithuanian side, the prime minister's press secretary Andrejs Vaivars told BNS.

Kucinskis also added that there is still time until the crucial deadline.

As reported, Michael Cramer, chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism, waned in an interview with 15min.lt news website that the Baltic states risk losing EU funding for Rail Baltica if they prove unable to reach common ground on the project’s implementation.

"We should all understand that the bulk of the money is granted by the European Union, which has a clear principle of use it or lose it. If the Baltic states don't use the money, it will go to Germany, Austria or France. Politicians of all countries should have a clear understanding of the situation. Yes, there are differences between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, however, the project can only be implemented together. Poland's participation is also crucial here,"
  Cramer told 15min.lt.

In his words, agreement on project implementation is only possible with Lithuania's approval: "The Baltic states must work together. A final decision is necessary, and it is not in place yet. I know they are lacking a political decision, which should be made by the Ministry of Transport of Lithuania."

Rail Baltica project coordinator Catherine Trautmann has also warned about the Baltic states possibly losing the support in case of failure to agree on project implementation.

BNS also 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 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.