Joint infrastructure projects linking several European regions give a great impetus to the economic development and simultaneously improve the region's security. Gundars Daudze, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima, stressed this on Thursday, 18 May, at the Polish parliament, while addressing the Summit of Speakers of Central and Eastern European Parliaments.
The main topics of the summit were regional security, cooperation in regional infrastructure development, the role of national parliaments in international politics, as well as the values uniting the Central and Eastern European countries.
Latvia's favourable geographical position and the well-developed infrastructure open up excellent opportunities for trade and transport services in both North-South and West-East directions. This is why Latvia positions itself as a strategic partner in the transport connections between Asia, the Black Sea countries and Northern Europe, said Daudze.
The Baltic States have embarked on a most ambitious joint infrastructure project, Rail Baltica, bound to connect the three Baltic States with other European countries. Undoubtedly, it will improve mobility in the region and promote trade links, said the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima.
Gundars Daudze stressed that the Rail Baltica project will enable trains to run twice as fast as they do now, reaching the speed of 240 km/h. Thus, it will take only two days for freight to be shipped from Estonia to Poland. By increasing the share of rail transport, the project will help reduce environmental pollution. At the same time, it will make it possible to create more than 10,000 new jobs in Latvia.
For the Baltic States, not less important than connecting to the rail system of the Western Europe, is the creation of a regional energy market, which will make a significant contribution to the region's energy security and reduce dependence on one dominant energy supplier, said the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima. Latvia's long-term priority is to build an effective regional market for natural gas. In this regard, Poland is the vital cooperation partner for the Baltic States, with the help of which we endeavour to connect to the European market, thereby creating alternative gas supply routes. We look forward to quick progress in Poland in the construction of the gas pipeline interconnection with Lithuania, stressed Gundars Daudze.
We are interested in involving not only Poland but also Finland in the regional gas market project. This way, energy market integration will help attract new market players, improve competition and promote the region's energy security, attested the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima.
Gundars Daudze also emphasised the vital role of the region's national parliaments in implementing the joint projects since the process requires both the political support of the legislatures and the relevant legal framework to be approved by parliaments.
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