Lithuania's Vilnius Demand Could Derail Rail Baltic
The recent demand by the Lithuanian government to connect Vilnius to the Rail Baltic line could propose problems, a meeting of EU delegates found, as the initial plan was to include Kaunas instead.
European transport commissioner Siim Kallas told ETV on Thursday that he understands the Lithuanians' wish to connect Vilnius, but said they should have tabled the demand at the beginning, when the route was put in place.
The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said at the meeting that the union has earmarked 26 billion euros, one tenth of the funds for pan-European projects during the 2014 to 2020 budget period, for Rail Baltic.
The project should be gathering momentum, as funding could be lost if construction does not begin by 2016.
Roberts Zile, a member of the European Parliament's transport commission, said that there are parties who oppose the project, as the Lithuanian Railways earns its income mainly from connections with Russia.
The three Baltic nations agreed in November to establish a joint company to oversee the project, a requirement that must be met by January.