Von Karolis Broga
A delegation of the European Parliament has favourably assessed Lithuania's achievements on the implementation of the strategic standard gauge railway track project Rail Baltica but urged the Baltic countries to strive for more progress as regards preparatory work and further funding of the project.
Wim van de Camp, the head of the delegation of the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism, says that the Baltic States should make greater progress in planning, for example, when negotiating with Finland and Poland or analysing rail transport speeds etc. He stressed that preparation in the Baltic countries must continue if the project is to be completed by 2025. Wim van de Camp was commended Lithuania on the progress achieved and said that it was on the right path. He also encouraged Lithuania's Minister of Transport and Communications Rokas Masiulis to be more active when negotiating on funding of the project at the Council of the European Union. The EP's representative hopes that the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU that is due to commence on 1 July will be beneficial for the Rail Baltica project.
Member of the EP delegation Michael Cramer at a press conference assured that the European Parliament fully supported the rail Baltica project as it had both financial and ecological benefits, and would improve mobility and contribute to climate preservation.
Minister Masiulis said after meeting with the MEPs that future funding of the project must be planned responsibly. According to him, the success of the project first of all depends on European funding after 2020. Moreover, the project has to be completed by 2025 and all sides understand this. Masiulis said that the situation in Lithuania changed radically after the leadership of Lithuanian Railways was replaced and now it is the leading Baltic country of the project and has accomplished the most as it is ready to acquire land for laying the railway track from the city of Kaunas to the Latvian border.