EU approves funding for Rail Baltic (4)
EU member states have unanimously approved European Commission's (EC) 11.93-billion-euro investment plan to upgrade infrastructure and boost jobs and growth. One of the selected projects is Rail Baltic international railroad to connect Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with central and western Europe.
The EC put the investment plan forward on June 29. It's the largest ever made by the EU in the transport area. Today's approval makes the funding of the large-scale Rail Baltic project as well as over 200 other projects official.
This provides the securities needed to move forward with the project, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kristen Michal said.
“The Rail Baltic connection will bring large investments to the Baltic Sea area, including Estonia, and ensures fast and secure connection with our allies in Europe,” he added.
The joint company of the three Baltic states will receive 540 million euros from the first stage of the project. Estonia's share is 213 million euros – 179 million from the EU and 39 million from the state budget over the next four years.
The building of the new railway is expected to begin in 2018. The whole project is estimated to cost 3.68 billion euros. The EC will co-fund 85 percent of this sum.
Rail Baltic is an international project that connects the three Baltic States, with Finland and Poland involved as partners.