The European Commission's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) elected not to reclaim approximately €255,000 granted to Estonia's Technical Regulatory Authority (TJA) for technical research and the drawing up of the special plan for the Rail Baltic railway connection.
INEA, which supervises the projects financed by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), last week sent a decision to Estonia's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in which it abandons the recovery claim for the support granted for drawing up the Rail Baltic plan and pre-planning activities, ministry spokesperson Mihkel Loide told BNS.
"We explained to INEA that during planning, many more public discussions have been conducted than required and common practice entails, and explanatory work has been carried out in the counties, which in turn slightly delayed the confirmation process of county plans," Loide said. "More than 80 public discussions with more than 4,000 participants have been carried out concerning the topic. INEA took these explanations into consideration and abandoned reclaiming the funding in the amount of €255,098.94, finding that the money has been used according to the aims of the funding."
According to Loide, the European Commission made an advance payment of altogether €2.6 million in funding meant for the drawing up of plans. "A total of €250,453.12 of the advance payment was left unused, which will be transferred back to the European Commission," he said. "This is not a recovery claim, but rather unspent money which must always be paid back to the donor."
Rail Baltic coordinator Kristjan Kaunissaar told BNS in July that INEA was demanding back €255,000 from the TJA due to a delay in the technical research and drawing up of the special plan for the Rail Baltic railway connection.
Editor: Aili Vahtla