On Friday, 2 March, members of the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima convened and agreed that a timely and effective implementation of the high-speed railway project Rail Baltica depends on a clear and strong political support from all three Baltic States. Furthermore, the Committee agreed to submit a draft decision on the support for further development of the Rail Baltica project to be deliberated by the Saeima.
“It is important to demonstrate political support for the project on behalf of the entire Parliament; therefore, the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima has come up with this draft decision, which also calls on the Lithuanian and Estonian Parliaments to express their support for the Rail Baltica project, which plays a crucial role in the entire North-European region”, said Lolita Čigāne, Chair of the European Affairs Committee, post-meeting.
According to the Committee Chair Čigāne, Rail Baltica is among the top-priority EU projects aimed at building a common transport space, and the European Commission is prepared to participate with a substantial co-financing of 85% of the total EUR 5.8 billion costs, on a condition that the project management is effective, homogeneous, and transparent. The view was supported and confirmed by Inna Šteinbuka, Head of the European Commission Representation in Latvia.
Baiba Rubesa, Executive Director and Chair of the Board of “RB Rail”, pointed out that the project bears not only economic significance, but also considerable security implications within the Baltic region, adding that the implementation of the project is currently hindered by different views on the choice of its implementation model.
Chair Čigāne underlined that recent developments, including the uncertainty about the management of the joint venture, stemming from the inability to agree on a common project implementation model, cast a shadow of doubt on the further development of the entire Rail Baltica project.
Members of the Committee agreed on the need to express political support in order to dispel doubts about the ability of the three Baltic States to embrace a common stance on the advancement of the project. Therefore, the European Affairs Committee has included in the draft decision an appeal to the Cabinet of Ministers to provide all the support required for the project to succeed.
The European Affairs Committee will request the draft decision on the support for further development of the Rail Baltica project to be included in the agenda of the upcoming regular Plenary Sitting of the Saeima.
The meeting on the progress of the Rail Baltica project was also attended by representatives of the Ministry of Transport, Joint Venture “RB Rail”, “Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas” Ltd., and Tālis Linkaits, Head of the VASAB Secretariat.
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Saeima Press Service