Amid the increasingly heated discussions in the Baltic states about the financing of the European-gauge Rail Baltica project from European Union (EU) funds, Wim van de Camp of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee says that the three Baltic states would definitely secure European funding for the project, if they are strong and demonstrate determination for the huge investment.
Rail Baltica
© DELFI

The MEP said during a visit in Lithuania last week that the project would be cased, if there are discussions about the funding not the way of securing the money.

"To be honest I am very optimistic. Rail Baltica is a part of so called TEN-T corridors, let me say, it's jewel of European transport policies. (...) If the Baltic states say that we should stop the present preparations because we are not sure about the money then we go down the drain. I think the Baltic states should prove that they are ready to invest: the route, the permissions, the farmers, NGOs, sustainability, and then the money will come," van de Camp told BNS.

He admitted that Rail Baltica was actively discussed in Estonia, as the project has not secured public support, however, emphasized that the project had support from the new Estonian government.

"Of course, we met miss Kadri Simsom, the minister of economic affairs and communications. Of course, we talked about these rumors and problem. She said to us be careful, of course we have these discussions, but this new government and the majority of the parliament is supporting the project. And to handle the public discussion also with the NGOs, there is a discussion about fences along the line, there is a discussion about ecoduct bridges above the line, under the line. Leave it to us and we can manage it," van de Camp said.

The MEP also expressed certitude that Poland would also be persuaded into paying more attention to the Rail Baltica project.

"With Poland the EU has a very broad relationship. I think in this MFF they received 83 billion euros from EU in total. (...) I think the European Commission in the end can convince the Polish government that for the Rail Baltica project we need a common speed or at least no problems with the speed, so don't isolate this problem in Poland as a chicken and egg discussion for Rail Baltica. (...) The next few months and even the next two years I'm absolutely sure we are going to solve this problem with Poland," he added.

The Rail Baltica project is estimated at between 4 and 5 billion euros. Lithuania has built the Rail Baltica stretch from Kaunas to the Lithuania-Polish border, however, plans make it straighter.

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