Countries reached the agreement of Rail Baltic shareholders

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania reached the agreement of shareholders of the Rail Baltic railway connection joint venture at the working group meeting held in Tallinn today.

The shareholder’s agreement will require also an approval by the national governments of these states. Signing the shareholder’s agreement is expected to take place in August after the establishment in Latvia and Estonia of holding enterprises which will be shareholders of the joint venture.

According to Indrek Sirp, the Rail Baltic project manager, the negotiations were long and thorough and the final result is satisfactory for all parties. „I am particularly glad that the obstacles from the creation of the joint venture have been removed and we can continue with the actual starting of the activities of the joint venture, including submission of the application for financing to the European Commission by the end of January next year,“ he said.

It was agreed to build the railway according to similar technical standards from Tallinn to Poland through Pärnu, Riga, Panevežys and Kaunas. As this connection is eligible to receive EU support, the work will proceed in this direction as the first priority and the application for funding will be submitted for the sections on this line. Consensus was also reached on the inclusion of the Vilnius-Kaunas branch line in the project, to be implemented as soon as it becomes eligible for EU support.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland signed the memorandum of understanding on the creation of the Rail Baltic Joint Venture in September last year. According to the earlier agreement, the main office of the joint venture will be in Riga, and the railway in each Baltic State will remain in state ownership.

Rail Baltic will be a 1435 mm gauge (European gauge) modern and fast electric railway connection between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As a broader corridor, Rail Baltic will connect both Scandinavia and Russia in the north with Western Europe on the other hand.

Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications

Baltics agree on joint venture for high speed rail connections

An important milestone on the way to high speed rail connections from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania’s rail system to the rest of Europe was reached today as working groups from the Baltics agreed on a draft shareholders’ agreement to form a joint venture for Rail Baltic.

The working groups met today in Tallinn; it was the 10th meeting. The Lithuanians had had the most stipulations, demanding that Vilnius, the national capital, also be connected to the line. Earlier this year, Estonia and Lithuania had been close to a diplomatic row over comments made by Estonia’s then economy minister regarding the Lithuanians’ unbending stance.

“We reached a common understanding and there are articles in the shareholders’ agreement that are a very important part, that Vilniius is a part of the Rail Baltic project,” said Lithuanian economic affairs ministry department head Arenijus Jackus on ETV.

Rail Baltic Estonia project manager Indrek Sirp said the Vilnius connection can start to be developed when EU financing is in place. Currently it isn’t.

“It was also agreed that [the Vilnius connection] can’t slow down the wortk on the main line, which is via Kaunas toward Poland,” said Sirp on ETV.

The Baltics, along with Poland and Finland, signed the memorandum of intent for the joint venture last September.

The joint venture will be headquartered in Riga, while each national segment of the railway will remain property of the respective state.

Source: ERR News