Baltic States aim to implement Rail Baltica project in rapid and coordinated way
The Baltic States aim to implement the “Rail Baltica” project in a rapid and coordinated way. The Ministers of Transport and Communications of the Baltic States discuss the progress of the project and its implementation management at the meeting being held today in Riga.
“We are pleased Lithuania is already able to present the results of the “Rail Baltica” project to the public and business. It is important for us, the three Baltic States, to coordinate actions and strengthen joint management of the project so as to avoid delays. It is important to achieve the goal of establishing the “Rail Baltica” line of common technical parameters and implementing an interoperable railway project”, – Jaroslav Narkevič, the Minister of Transport and Communications, says.
The Ministers of the Baltic States name insured insufficient investments of the European Union funds in the “Rail Baltica” as one of the biggest threats to keep up with the planned work schedule.
“We are dependent on funding from the European Union, and ensuring maximum funding for the project in the coming EU financial perspective is critical. We are worried about the interim results of the negotiations of the long-term EU budget of 2021-2027. According to the estimates, up to € 1.1 billion could be allocated to “Rail Baltica”, but another EUR 2 billion is needed. Discussions with the EU institutions on how we will implement this priority EU project are necessary at the highest level”, – Jaroslav Narkevič, the Minister, points out.
In order to ensure the smooth implementation of the “Rail Baltica”, Lithuania also proposes to strengthen the project management. It is proposed to depoliticize the “RB Rail” and create a high-level format of the responsible ministries solving political issues of the project implementation.
Despite discussions on coordination of further implementation of the project, Lithuania is successfully implementing the planned works and has made the most significant progress in the implementation of the “Rail Baltica” project among the Baltic States. The procedures of land acquisition for public use – the “Rail Baltica” railway line from Kaunas to the Lithuanian-Latvian border have already been completed. Over 1.700 deeds of acquisition of lands for public use have been signed, and the total land area formed for public use amounts to 1.245 ha. In its scope and terms of performance, this is the first such case in Lithuania.
The government initiated four spatial planning processes for the “Rail Baltica” project, on which basis the route of the “Rail Baltica” project will be established throughout Lithuania, including the Vilnius-Kaunas connection, until 2021.
Currently, the design of the road sector from Kaunas to the Lithuanian-Latvian border is being drawn up. Already next year it is planned to procure “Rail Baltica” infrastructure construction works for the road section from Kaunas towards the Latvian border.
Active contract works are being carried out in Kaunas transport network. When the European railway line reaches Kaunas intermodal terminal, it will open the way for business to use the opportunities of the “Rail Baltica”.
In cooperation with the Ministry of National Defence, a dialogue is being held with NATO partners on the use of the “Rail Baltica” infrastructure for military mobility and the possibilities of military equipment movement to Kaunas are being evaluated.
In order to accelerate the implementation of the “Rail Baltica” in all three Baltic States, it is envisaged to agree on clear progress criteria that can be assessed at the meeting of the Baltic Prime Ministers at the end of each year.