Nerijus Mačiulis, the Chief Economist at Swedbank's Lithuania branch, said that the Lithuanian government's recent demand to include Vilnius in the Rail Baltic project has no serious economic basis.
Extending the track to Vilnius could even prove to be counterproductive in terms of the state's regional policy, Mačiulis said on his Facebook page on Sunday, adding that not everything in Lithuania should center around Vilnius.
He also cited an October article in the Economist that said some of the region's monopoly train operators have strong business ties with Russian operators and make their profits from the transit of freight between the Baltic ports and large industrial producers in the east. He said that neither Russia nor the operators are interested in the Rail Baltic project.
Estonian politicians have criticized their Lithuanian counterparts after the Vilnius link demand, with Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts even calling his Lithuanian colleagues fools on Friday. Parts later apologized.