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Foreign Affairs Committee supports ratification of Rail Baltica agreement

The legislative draft, which is intended to ratify the agreement for the formation of Rail Baltica railway connection in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, was supported unanimously by Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, 14 June.

The goal of the agreement is ensuring effective and quick establishment of European railway line for passenger and cargo transports on a route built as part of the entire European transport network in Baltic States in full accordance with general technical parameters, as stated in Saeima’s report.

In addition, RB Rail chairperson Baiba Runesa emphasized the importance of the agreement for Rail Baltica being ratified in parliaments of all three Baltic States as soon as possible to avoid losing the project’s investments.

«Rail Baltica will allow passenger trains to reach a speed of up to 240 km/h instead of the current 120 km/h and carry cargoes from Tallinn to Poland within two days instead of four,» RB rail board member Kaspars Kokens explains about the project.

Rokens also mentions that Rail Baltica will help considerably reduce environmental pollution. It is expected that the construction of this new railway line will create more than 10,000 jobs in Latvia.

It is expected that the volume of cargoes transported by Rail Baltica in 2030 will reach approximately 13 million tonnes. This includes part of import and export goods headed to and from Finland, RB Rail business development manager Kaspars Briskens told Saeima deputies. At the same time, Rail Baltica will help Latvian exporters reach new markets.

Transport Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Edgars Tavars emphasized that one of Latvia’s biggest hopes for Rail Baltica project is the diversion of cargoes from cargo vehicles to the railway to help relieve road traffic congestion.

During the meeting, RB Rail representatives put a number of concerns voiced by Latvian State Audit to rest. Rubesa noted that large-scale projects, including Rail Baltica, always have risks that have to be addressed, the Saeima reported.

It is emphasized in the agreement that it is the common goal of all Baltic States to develop public railway infrastructure, which is an important strategic and economically important goal for Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

The agreement also establishes that railway infrastructure built on the territory of a separate country is considered belonging to that country. The agreement also establishes a principle for non-discriminatory access to infrastructure and cooperation among regulatory and security institutions.

The final reading of the document in the Saeima is scheduled for 21 June.


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