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Baltics can ’harmonize’ over Rail Baltica project, says minister

  • 2014-01-21
  • From wire reports, VILNIUS

Minister of Transport and Communications of Lithuania Rimantas Sinkevicius believes that the three Baltic States' position on the project "Rail Baltica II" will be harmonized and, therefore, also the negotiations over the joint venture finalized.

"My morning phone conversation with Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Communication Juhan Parts confirms it," said Sinkevicius.

"Last September, five Ministers, among which also the Estonian Minister, signed a declaration on the establishment of a joint venture for the project "Rail Baltica II", where Vilnius was acknowledged as a part of “Rail Baltica”. Estonian minister confirmed that his signature on this declaration is still valid," said Rimantas Sinkevicius.

Lithuania wants to modernize the 100 km branch line between Kaunas and Vilnius and, thus, connect all three Baltic States’ capitals with the Trans-European gauge.

The total length of "Rail Baltica II" route in Lithuania will be approximately 360 kilometers, in Latvia - 300 kilometers and Estonia - approximately 300 kilometers. It is expected that the joint venture established by all three Baltic States will administer only the construction of the route, whereas all infrastructure will remain to each country separately.

It is estimated that the "Rail Baltica II" route in Lithuania will cost around 4.4 billion litas; the total value of the route will cost approximately 12.43 billion litas. European Union should fund 85 percent of the project. The new railway line should connect Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius and Warsaw with the extension to Berlin.