Estonia's EU commissioner Siim Kallas: Europe, unlike Baltics, never questioned Rail Baltica project
Baltic Business News
Friday, July 11, 2014
European transport commissioner Siim Kallas, 65, says in an interview to Äripäev that he is proud of Estonia because Estonia has a good image in Europe as a country that is innovative and makes things happen, but warns that economically, the country must move forward, as otherwise it would run out of steam.
Local councils in Estonia's districts that are to be affected by the new Rail Baltica railway route were introduced to the interim report on strategic assessments of environmental impact and comparative results of various routes, according to the country's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
The three Baltic States reached consensus on the inclusion of Vilnius into the European rail gauge Rail Baltica 2 but it does not yet guarantee that it will be implemented or that European funds will be available for the project. Professor and economist Ramūnas Vilpišauskas says that the current wording implies that the issue is simply postponed until a later date.
Estonia and Lithuania have so far failed to agree on how the Baltic power grids are to be synchronized with the Western European system and a memorandum of understanding will not be signed during the EU summit on Thursday, as planned, Lithuanian Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said, adding that this might be done later this year.
The Baltic prime ministers say that their countries are ready for Zapad, a major military exercise to be held jointly by Russia and Belarus in September, and feel safe after NATO partners have deployed additional capabilities in the region.
Two terminals could operate on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea controlled by the three Baltic states – in Lithuania's Klaipėda and in Estonia, which could build a small terminal, Lithuania's Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis stated on Friday. In his words, the two terminals would supplement each other along with the Inčukalns gas storage facility in Latvia.