Economic affairs minister: EKRE has not broken Rail Baltic ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Render of the future Rail Baltica railway.
Render of the future Rail Baltica railway. Source: RB Rail AS

The Rail Baltic project is not moving forward, largely due to the efforts of the Conservative People's Party (EKRE), party chairman Mart Helme said on Sunday. Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas said on Monday that concern over the progress of the railway project is not warranted.

Mart Helme, minister of the interior and chairman of EKRE, said on a Sunday broadcast of a radio station affiliated with EKRE that the Rail Baltic project is actually not moving forward, adding that this is largely thanks to efforts by EKRE to stall it.

"In fact, Rail Baltic is not moving forward. Yes, land plots are being bought and there are some guys sitting there and getting a decent salary, but in fact the project is stalled. And that is largely due to us having stalled it," Helme said.

A part of society has always been against progress, Aas commented on Monday. "It is humanly understandable, changes create uncertainty and fear. This is how the Luddites destroyed steam engines in 18th century England, and today we are seeing the destruction of 5G masts as they allegedly disperse the coronavirus. Society's fears are being exploited by political forces building an agenda based on despair. It is, of course, not constructive to chase down people's fears. But that's the way it is in the world," the minister said.

"Unlike the shredders of the machines, who broke the looms with mallets, EKRE has not broken Rail Baltic," Aas continued. "On the contrary. Estonian Minister of the Environment Rene Kokk thought about how to build a connection with Europe in a more environmentally friendly way, and Minister of Finance Martin Helme stood firmly for Rail Baltic in the distribution of money in the European Union."

Aas said that the progress of Rail Baltic is not something that should be worried about, as the Estonian government's coalition agreement makes it clear that building this economic corridor is going ahead.

"Signed by Martin Helme, Rail Baltic's investment plan lists almost 50 objects specifically related to the new railway construction, and I find it is highly unlikely that he does not know, as Minister of Finance, what he has signed. In Estonia, the popularly elected Riigikogu has ratified the agreement with Latvia and Lithuania that Rail Baltic will be completed," Aas said.

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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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