Construction workers have not been paid for construction of two Rail Baltica stations since February

  • 2024-06-03
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Construction workers have not been paid since February for construction of two international Rail Baltica stations, TV3  television's analytical news program Neka Personiga (Nothing Personal) reported on Sunday.

The program informed that the builders have not been paid since February for construction two international Rail Baltica stations - Riga Airport and Riga Central Termina.

Neka Personiga noted that the contracts signed with the builders several years ago included price indexation, but inflation of 20-30 percent was not foreseen. "The works have been ordered, invoices have been issued and accepted by both Eiropas Dzelzcela Linijas and the Transport Ministry, but due to inflation the works have cost much more, and there is no way to pay the difference," the program says, adding that the increase has been ignored for a long time and currently amounts to EUR 39 million.

"What the builders are asking for is justified because the work has been done", says Eriks Dilevs, interim chairman of the Eiropas Dzelzcela Linijas board.

He also noted that the cost increase up to December 31, 2023 was EUR 33 million, while this year up to June the cost increase is another EUR 6 million.

For his part, Transport Minister Kaspars Briskens (Progressives) noted that a comprehensive information report on the two international stations of Rail Baltica is being prepared to ascertain why there are such drastic cost increases. "We have also found in our internal checks that the officials on the Latvian side who are concluding the contract may have made commitments that go beyond the framework decided by the government," the minister said.

Talks are underway with the builders to revise the payment schedule.

In the summer the European Commission will examine Latvia's latest application for the 10th consecutive allocation of European money for the Rail Baltica project, by which time Latvia needs to find out what is happening with the project.

The TV program also pointed out that Latvia has raised EUR 796 million from the EU since 2015, with another EUR 223 million financed by the state. Of this money, about a third has been absorbed.

As reported, the Rail Baltica project, which has recently highlighted problems with meeting deadlines and absorbing funding, involves the construction of a European standard gauge railway line from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border to connect the Baltic states with other European countries by rail. 

Rail Baltica was originally expected to cost EUR 5.8 billion, but stakeholders have repeatedly said that the cost has increased significantly. Part of the cost will be covered by European Union funds. Rail Baltica is planned to open in phases between 2028 and 2030.

The State Security Service stressed in last year's activity report that, despite the current difficulties, further delays in the construction of the Rail Baltica infrastructure are unacceptable and the project requires targeted risk management.