Exclusive EU funding for Rail Baltica remains possible after talks – Lithuanian ambassador

  • 2021-03-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Securing 1.6 billion euros in exclusive EU funding for the Rail Baltica railway project remains possible after EU member states' talks with the European Parliament, Lithuania's ambassador said on Friday.  

Simonas Satunas, Lithuania's acting permanent representative to the EU, told BNS that the results of the talks on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) program in 2021-2027 were still being analyzed, but he was optimistic. 

"We are still analyzing the results of the CEF talks that ended last night. The key achievement of the talks is that the Lithuanian-Latvian-Estonian railway project Rail Baltica retained the possibility of receiving exclusive EU funding, the 1.6 billion euros agreed in July 2020. This gives grounds for optimism," the diplomat told BNS. 

"However, we are still facing the formalization stage," he added. 

Last July, EU leaders reached a political deal on funding for Rail Baltica, but some MEPs were against earmarking the money for any specific project.

In January, the Lithuanian president and the Latvian and Estonian prime ministers called on Portugal, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, to defend the agreed funding for Rail Baltica in the EU budget talks with the European Parliament. 

They said in their joint letter that a successful outcome of the talks would ensure a smooth ratification process that is necessary for the EU Recovery Fund to function. Some Brussels media outlets called it an indirect threat to veto the fund if funding for Rail Baltica is not secured.

The high-speed railway link from Tallinn to Warsaw is planned to be built by 2026.