Rail Baltica meeting inconclusive

  • 2014-03-07
  • From wire reports, TALLINN

The discussion on the common Baltic railway project Rail Baltica has reached a dead end since the Lithuanian delegation lacks a mandate to discuss proposals for joining Vilnius with the high speed railway, reports Public Broadcasting.

In addition, Lithuanians refer to the upcoming change of government in Estonia and a proposal of a referendum made by the likely new Prime Minister Siim Kallas, asking with whom and about what should they negotiate.

The meeting of Rail Baltica working groups of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that started on Thursday, March 6 in Tallinn was supposed to continue on Friday but the delegations ran out of things to discuss on Thursday and didn’t convene again on Friday.

"Yesterday it emerged that the Lithuanian side didn’t have a mandate to discuss the compromise proposals that we made at the previous meeting," said Rail Baltica Estonian working group head Indrek Sirp. Estonia’s proposal concerned conditions that, if fulfilled, could mean that Vilnius could be included in the Rail Baltica project.

"As far as we see it, Vilnius is an integrated part of Rail Baltica. Transport ministers agreed upon it and prime ministers approved it and at the moment there is no need to discuss it with the European Commission," said Lithuanian Economy and Communications Ministry international relations department had Arenijus Jackus.

The next meeting of the working group takes place in April but Sirp was not very hopeful about its results. "I think that the moment has arrived where we should move these undecided issues to a higher level, to the tables of ministers. We'll wait till the April meeting and then will see," he said.

Another issue the Lithuanians raised was that no one knows who Estonia's economy minister will be in April, and the likely Kallas has spoken in the media about a possible referendum over Rail Baltica.

Riigikogu economy committee chairwoman Kaja Kallas (Reform Party) said that no decision on a referendum has been made and the change of government in Estonia won't bring any changes in Estonia's attitude towards Rail Baltica or linking Vilnius.