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Commission proposes granting one third of requested Rail Baltic funding

Schematic maps of passenger (left) and freight (right) rail lines and stations.
Schematic maps of passenger (left) and freight (right) rail lines and stations. Source: (Rail Baltic/Ernst & Young)

The European Commission on Friday proposed granting €110.5 million to the Rail Baltic project in the third call for proposals for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), one third of the €313.3 million sought.

That money was allocated to Estonia and Latvia under the CEF's third call for proposals was very good news, as that money came at the expense of other member states, Rail Baltic coordinator Kristjan Kaunissaare said on Monday.

"As in the case of the third call for proposals we are speaking of the allocation of money in accordance with national envelopes, so to peak, for the current period under the regulation of the CEF, the fact that Estonia and Latvia received money from there at all right now is extremely positive, no matter how much it was," he told BNS.

"If we recall that the envelopes for Estonia and Latvia had in fact been exhausted by the two first CEF calls for proposals anyway, this means that we received money now that effectively comes from the envelopes of other countries," Kaunissaare said. "Therefore this is excellent news."

This is also why the amount of money being allocated to Lithuania is significantly greater, as there was enough money left in th Lithuanian envelope.

"We had been planning on getting more money and some of it we did not receive, which means that some activities will be performed later using money from subsequent rounds," the coordinator explained, adding that it was currently too early to say what activities these were.

Altogether, the Commission proposed on Friday to disburse €2.7 billion between 152 important transport projects. The €110.5 to be allocated to Rail Baltic will include €98.4 million for Lithuania, nearly €7 million for Latvia and €5.2 million for Estonia.

In the two funding rounds which have already taken place, the three Baltic states and their joint venture have received CEF co-funding worth €765 million for the construction of the Rail Baltic railway project. CEF funding is expected to cover up to 85 percent of the project's total cost, with the financial support amounting to roughly €633 million.

RB Rail is a joint venture established by the three Baltic countries in October 2014. The Rail Baltic project seeks to establish a direct railway connection between the Baltic states and the European railway network enabling speeds of up to 240 kilometers per hour for passenger trains and 120 kilometers per hour for freight trains.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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