The committee of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) operating by the European Commission on Thursday adopted the Rail Baltica railway implementation decision, which is the premise for receiving funding and sets the objectives, indicative schedule and management structure of the project.
“This is a European Commission decision regarding five member states — Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — who are directly or indirectly carrying out the Rail Baltica project or participating in the realisation of the project,” Kristjan Kaunissaare, the Estonian coordinator of the Rail Baltica project, told BNS. “Prior to its adoption, the decision has been coordinated with all five countries.”
The decision must also conclusively be confirmed by the European Commission.
Kaunissaare said that this decision will set the objectives, activities and an indicative schedule of Rail Baltica as a cross-border project belonging to the main network of the North Sea-Baltic transport corridor. In addition, the document will stipulate the management structure of the project and how the reporting of the project will be carried out.
According to Kaunissaare, this is an extremely important decision for the Rail Baltica project as it demonstrates the importance of Rail Baltica to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland and to Europe as a whole. The decision is also a prerequisite for receiving funding for the project from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), as this is stipulated in the new CEF regulation.
The only project to currently meet the new requirements is the Evora-Merida railway project between Portugal and Spain. Once the European Commission officially confirms the committee’s decision, Rail Baltica will be the second project to meet these requirements. This would mean that the Baltic railway project would have an advantage when applying for funding from CEF assets during the next EU budget period.