On Tuesday 31 January, Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas and Prime Minister of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis signed the intergovernmental agreement on the implementation of the Rail Baltica project. The agreement was signed within the framework of the Baltic Council of Ministers held in Tallinn.
After the signing of the agreement, M. Kučinskis pointed out that a successful and timely implemented Rail Baltica project is a common strategic interest of all three Baltic States. “I am pleased to note that substantial progress has been made recently to develop this project – agreements on the framework for organizing and supervising procurements of the project have been reached and put into practice, as well as there is an agreement at national level on tracking and border crossing points. They have to be put into practice immediately,” stressed M. Kučinskis.
For the agreement to enter into force, it has to be ratified by national parliaments of all three countries. The purpose of the agreement is to promote the implementation of the European standard gauge public railway Rail Baltica project aimed at full integration of the Baltic States and their capitals into the EU rail and transport networks.
The agreement highlights the common goal of the Baltic States – to develop the infrastructure of Rail Baltica public railway that is an object of strategic and economic importance for their residents. The Rail Baltica is an important infrastructure project not only for the Baltic countries, but also for Poland and Finland, as well as the European Union, which aims to develop trans-European transport networks, including the North Sea – Baltic Corridor.
The agreement confirms the commitment of the Baltic States to implement the project before 2025 in order to launch the operation of the line in 2026. The agreement also points to the importance of the European Union funding for the project implementation and readiness of the countries to continue to apply for the European Union funding with the support rate of 85%.
The agreement defines that jointly built infrastructure is owned by the state in whose territory it is situated, and the manager will have the necessary access.