The Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is currently seeking opinions on the bill of ratification of the Rail Baltic construction agreement signed by the three Baltic states.
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson wants the ministries to submit their opinions on it by April 11 so that the Ministry of Foregin Affairs could submitit to the government by its April 27 meeting. Should the government decide to support its ratification, the bill would then reach the Riigikogu.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said at the beginning of the year that the government will put the Rail Baltic agreement before the Riigikogu only after a new feasibility study is completed in April. He declined to answer, however, when asked if the government would abandon the Rail Baltic plan if the result of the feasibility study was negative.
Agreement signed in January
At the end of January, the prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed the Rail Baltic agreement, which sets ut the deadlines, the route and several technical details of the new railway interconnection. The agreement must be ratified by the parliaments of all three countries.
The Rail Baltic agreement determines the general technical parameters and route of the railroad as well as the construction timetable. An intergovernmental agreement is needed as there are some matters which companies cannot regulate under the Rail Baltic joint venture shareholders' agreement, the Estonian government's press service previously explained.
The accord regulates the ownership of the future rail infrastructure and the land under it as well as the conditions of its financing and construction. It also provides for ensuring access to Rail Baltic infrastructure and provides general guidelines for the management of Rail Baltic to determine the infrastructure operator.
The total cost of the works on Estonian territory is projected at €1.3 billion, of which Estonia's own contribution is €250 million. Up to 85 percent of the project funding for Rail Baltic will come from the Connecting Europe Facility.
Editor: Aili Vahtla