Seimas ratified agreement on implementation of “Rail Baltica” project
On 10 October, the Seimas ratified an agreement on the implementation of the “Rail Baltica” project signed by the Prime Ministers of Baltic countries in January, says Lithuania’s Ministry of Transport and Communications. This agreement confirmed the aim to implement the project in 2025 and to start operating the new gauge in 2026.
“Ratification of this international agreement on the implementation of the “Rail Baltica” project in the Lithuanian Parliament communicates an essential message, i.e. the State of Lithuania will implement this project aimed at connecting with the European Union through an effective railway line. With this unambiguous position Lithuania together with Latvia and Estonia lay a solid foundation for the expectations that the project will receive exceptional attention throughout the European Union and get a significant European Union financial support in the financial perspective after 2020”, Minister Rokas Masiulis points out.
Lithuania has already constructed the “Rail Baltica” railway from the Polish-Lithuanian border to Kaunas, and this January the Government adopted a special plan whereby it approved the “Rail Baltica” railway line from Kaunas to the Lithuanian-Latvian border.
Redemption of the land required for the “Rail Baltica” railway line from Kaunas to the border with Latvia has been currently started and it is planned to be accomplished by the end of 2018.
EUR 364.5 million from the European Union (EU) funds and state budget funds were invested in the construction of the Rail Baltica railway line from the Polish-Lithuanian border to Kaunas before 2015. Currently, Lithuania has secured EUR 248.1 million of EU fund investments for further implementation of the “Rail Baltica” project. Moreover, this year the European Commission has approved the financing application, under which another EUR 94.9 million will be allocated once the agreement is signed.
“Rail Baltica” is the key railway infrastructure project in the Baltic Region, aimed at integrating Baltic countries in the European railway network. Five EU Member States: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and indirectly Finland take part in the project. The line will connect Helsinki, Tallinn, Pärnu, Riga, Panevėžys, Kaunas, Vilnius, and Warsaw.