Rail Baltica must start transporting goods and passengers by 2030, regardless of whether the main track's connection to Riga Central Railway Station is in place by that time, said European Commission representative Catherine Trautmann in an interview with Latvian Radio.
Trautmann, who coordinates the TEN-T network's North Sea and Baltic transport corridor project, stated that for Rail Baltica's main track to qualify for further 85-percent funding from the European Union, it must be completed by 2030, as reported by Latvian public broadcaster LSM.
In Latvia, there is significant debate over whether the main track will be connected to Riga railway station and when this connection will be completed.
Trautmann mentioned that the construction of other connections, including the connection to Riga, may but does not have to occur after the construction of the main track. The main concern is that the Rail Baltica main track and the freight and passenger transport are operational by 2030. However, she noted that funding for such a connection has not yet been allocated.
"Of course, Riga Central Railway Station and Riga Airport need to be connected, but this costs a lot. It's also complicated because Riga Central Railway Station is located in the city center," Trautmann said.
She pointed out that the Baltic states must compete for additional funding with other European Union countries and projects.
"When I emphasized the main track [construction] by 2030, it doesn't mean nothing else will be done. Everything depends on who qualifies for funding, but everything has its limitations. Therefore, I recommend my Baltic colleagues to participate [in calls for proposals]. They should be confident and offer the best solution," Trautmann added.
Trautmann emphasized that no major project is completed immediately and there are many discussions and doubts in the Baltic states. Similarly, the implementation of major transport projects occurs in other EU countries, including Poland and France.
Editor: Mark Gerassimenko, Marcus Turovski