Gallery: Baltic prime ministers united on moving Rail Baltic forward

Prime ministers of all three Baltic States have pledged their support for Rail Baltic, the planned high-speed electric rail connection linking Tallinn to the Polish-Lithuanian border, Baltic News Service reports, noting an increased governmental coordination going forward, in the wake of controversies in the private sector management of the project.

Speaking at a meeting in Riga on Friday, the three leaders, Jüri Ratas (Estonia), Arturs Krisjanis Karins (Latvia) and Saulius Skvernelis (Lithuania), said they would be regularly monitoring the project's progress and ensure its completion within the EU's upcoming budgetary plan for 2021-2027.

"At today's meeting we were able to reaffirm with representatives of the European Commission and RB Rail AS, that Rail Baltic continues to be a very important project for us all, and for which we are ready to overcome differences and matters of concern," Estonian prime minister, Jüri Ratas (Centre) said, via a spokesperson.

RB Rail AS is the parent company managing the project across all three states.

RB Rail's last CEO, Finn Timo Riihimäki, announced his resignation in late October after a little over eight months in the job. Additionally, Riia Sillave, CEO of Rail Baltic Estonia, is about to leave the Estonian subsidiary of RB Rail.

RB Rail employees of the Rail Baltic parent company recently demanded the resignation of the company's supervisory board chair, Karolis Sankovski, claiming that the project had reached a critical stage due to poor corporate governance, misuse of EU funds, and conflict of interest situations. 

After Friday's meeting, Jüri Ratas added that all three countries want to move the project forward and start construction work, with government ministers responsible for transport tasked with creating the faster implementation of the project and reporting back regularly to the government.

Ratas also expressed pleasure at the attitude of Poland, where the southern end of the proposed Rail Baltic link will terminate, and a hope that Finland would also join the project.

Rail Baltic is a double track, European standard 1,435-mm gauge electrified railway for passenger and freight transport to run from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border, with an overall length of 870 km

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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