Rail Baltic agreement to be signed in all three Baltic capitals (3)
The agreement on the financing and implementation of the Rail Baltic railroad project will be signed in the Baltic capitals of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius on Friday. According to joint venture RB Rail CEO Baiba Rubesa, Finland is also ready to join the European-gauge railroad project and become a shareholder if the Baltic States are able to "get the project on its feet."
As technical work is already underway, nine Baltic institutions will physically sign the agreement, Rubesa told the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima.
She admitted that reaching an agreement had not been easy, considering the different laws and legal procedures of each Baltic country. That, however, is a problem characteristic of all projects involving multiple EU member states.
Rubesa noted that according to the agreement, RB Rail will have the role of central manager in the project; the company will manage procurements and supervise the implementation of the project as well as its marketing and business activities.
Representatives of the three Baltic countries agreed on the model of further procurements and responsibilities in implementing the Rail Baltic project at the Sept. 7 meeting of the RB Rail Supervisory Board. They decided to divide all procurements into three groups — procurements organized solely by the joint venture, consolidated procurements carried out by the joint venture and procurements carried out by national companies under the supervision of the joint venture.
Rail Baltic is the project for the construction of a European-gauge high-speed railway stretching from Tallinn to Lithuania's border with Poland.
Finland ready to join Rail Baltic project on certain conditions
According to Rubesa, Finland is also ready to join the project and become a shareholder if the Baltic States are able to "get the project on its feet."
She told the Saeima that Finland is considering building a rail connection with Sweden, which would mean that the Baltic states would eventually be connected with the Scandinavian countries as well.
Several lawmakers asked Rubesa about the profitability of the project, the necessary co-financing and maintenance after the railway has been built. Rubesa noted that these questions could be answered at a later date as the cost-benefit analysis is slated to be completed next year.
She noted that there is interest in the rail project's freight transport possibilities in Finland and Poland, and admitted that it was yet difficult to estimate the railway's potential number of passengers as there have been no similar connections before.