Transport ministers from Central Europe and Baltic countries met in Prague to discuss advancing European funding for strategic transport infrastructure projects in the region

  • 2024-06-17
  • Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania

Central European and Baltic transport ministers met in Prague today and signed a joint Declaration that will strengthen cooperation in seeking more EU funding for strategic transport infrastructure projects in the region to improve military mobility in Europe and within the region.

Having signed the Declaration along with his peers the Transport Ministers and representatives of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia,  Lithuanian Transport Minister Marius Skuodis said that increased EU funding for strategic transport projects is critical for the development of missing cross-border transport links, acceleration of the Rail Baltica project and its integration into the European transport system.

“Projects of the scale of Rail Baltica and Via Baltica will not only have a huge impact on Lithuania, but will also fundamentally change regional connectivity, opening up new cargo freight opportunities with Ukraine and Moldova. Full integration into European transport networks is a priority for improving connectivity and has a serious bearing on strengthening regional defence posture. The appropriate and timely European funding is key for advancing strategic infrastructure projects. Therefore, we firmly and unanimously stress the need to increase the EU investments in transport projects in our region,” said Lithuania’s Transport Minister Marius Skuodis.

The Joint Ministerial Declaration notes the importance of not only continuing the CEF – EU’s Connecting Europe Facility instrument,  but also significantly increasing its ambition in the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework that should, as Ministers highlighted, include more financing for the military mobility needs.

So far, Lithuania has secured €126.7 million in EU funding to improve military mobility links with the rest of Europe. These investments are earmarked for the construction of sections of the Via Baltica freight road to the Polish border, Kaunas Airport and other major road and rail infrastructure projects. Looking solely at our country’s military mobility needs, Lithuania would need an additional €1.4 billion.

A total of €1.69 billion is earmarked for EU countries between 2021 and 2027 to improve military mobility infrastructure in Europe.

The Declaration also addressed the need to further develop the North-South transport links of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) from the Baltic to the Black and the Aegean Seas. It pointed up that additional EU investment would increase the overall efficiency of Europe’s transport system and contribute to achieving the goals set by EU’s Green Deal.

The ministerial meeting in Prague on Friday was hosted by the Czech Republic, which currently holds the Presidency of the Višegrad Group.