TALLINN - The European Union has allocated EUR 17 million from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for works to design Rail Baltica, in order to boost the greening of the transport sector and develop transport links within the EU.
"In addition to better connectivity, as an electrified railway, Rail Baltica helps Estonia to contribute also to improving the climate. The more people and goods move from road to rail, the smaller environmental footprint we leave," Estonian Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Minister Taavi Aas said in a press release on Monday.
"In light of the newly announced proposals for the European climate package, it is good news that we will receive additional funding from the Union to help meet ambitious climate targets," the minister said.
The Estonian portion of the additional support, together with own contribution, is nearly three million euros, most of which is intended for the design of the section of Rail Baltica in Parnu County, including the updating of the county spatial plan, an update on and preparation of environmental studies.
On top of the additional amount of EUR 17 million for Rail Baltica, which is divided between the three countries, comes own contribution, which brings the size of the additional financial input into the construction of Rail Baltica to roughly EUR 20 million.
In the last call for proposals for CEF funding for the 2014-2020 period, a total of approximately EUR 243.8 million was disbursed, of this EUR 181.4 million for 37 rail projects.
"It was decided to provide to Rail Baltica one-tenth of the total amount earmarked for rail projects in Europe, which shows that this project is not only important for the Baltic states but also for Europe more broadly, and is clearly in line with the package of the European Green Deal," Aas noted.
As a next step, the EU's Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) will prepare the funding decisions. Financing agreements with countries are expected to be signed in late autumn.