Rail Baltica company to apply for EU funding in October
Sunday, August 24, 2014
RB Rail, a joint venture of the three Baltic countries that will coordinate the European-standard gauge railway project Rail Baltica, should apply to the European Commission for EU funding in October, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said on Saturday.
The Baltic countries will not sign a shareholders' agreement for RB Rail, their joint venture for the European-standard gauge railway project Rail Baltica, in the summer, as expected, because some procedures have not yet been completed, Lithuanian Transport MinisterRimantas Sinkevičius said.
A Rail Baltic project team is meeting today in Vändra municipality to discuss how the tracks of the proposed multilateral rail project will run north of Pärnu. Observers are mildly pessimistic about any outcome being reached.
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.
The prime ministers of the three Baltic states are visiting the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Lithuanian port city of Klaipėda on Friday as part of the so-called LNG tour that was kicked off in Estonia to provide a platform for the prime ministers to discuss a regional LNG terminal and the possibility to secure European support.