Baltic countries endorse their commitment to Rail Baltica

2017 01 31

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis took part in the meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Baltic Council of Ministers in Tallinn, where he, together with the Latvian and Estonian colleagues, signed a Rail Baltica agreement.

“The agreement sends a very important message to European Union partners: the Baltic countries have come together to make a clear commitment as regards this strategically important project”,  said the Head of Government. “What is important now is to ensure adequate European support for the project in the next post-2020 financial perspective.”

According to the Lithuanian Prime Minister, the Rail Baltica is a strategic project with a potential positive impact on social and economic development of the region, so it is important to start looking for new cargo flows to feed the Rail Baltica line, and ensure adequate volumes of cargo, fluent movement of passengers and good comfort.

The Prime Minister said that the signature of the agreement showed that other important strategic projects could follow in the future.

The tripartite agreement defines common technical parameters of the European standard gauge railway, specifies project deadlines, principles of financing, the role of the joint venture RB Rail AS, and co-operation modes with Poland and Finland.

The agreement provides for the Vilnius connection line as an integral part of the Rail Baltica, it also specifies the completion date of the project, i.e. 2025, thus making the line operational as of 2026.

The signed agreement will be submitted to Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian parliaments for ratification.

On 11 January 2017, the Government adopted a special plan for building a new 1435 mm gauge rail line from Kaunas to the Latvian border and started the related land expropriation procedures.

In 2011, the project Rail Baltica was recognized in Lithuania as a project of special national significance.