Full steam ahead or hitting the buffers? Rail Baltica project under scrutiny

The three Baltic Prime Ministers are due to meet in Tallinn, Estonia on February 7, with the future of the 6 billion euro Rail Baltica project expected to be on the agenda.

Ahead of the meeting, the Re:Baltica investigative journalism site has published a report exploring concerns that delays and conflicts of interest are placing the much-hyped project's future in doubt.

Titled (De)Rail Baltica: Why the Baltic High Speed Train is Running Off Rails, the story includes an interview with short-lived CEO of the project Timo Riihimäki. Though he left after just eight months in the job citing personal reasons, Riihimäki expresses his concerns with the organization supposed to deliver the high-speed rail link to the Baltic states in coming years with the first trains supposed to start running in 2026.

Re:Baltica also probes why Finnish involvement in the project has been so muted, but what it boils down to is straightforward enough: an occasional tendency for the Baltic states to make friendly and supportive noises to each other while behind-the-scenes cooperation is less impressive. 

"Everyone is blaming someone else. Latvia and Estonia are ganging up on Lithuania which has built a wrong track to Poland and is delaying the decision to solve it, thus slowing down everyone else. In turn, Lithuania is not budging on the issues the others are asking it to fix. There are other pains too: Latvia and Estonia are behind the schedule for acquiring the necessary land," said Re:Baltica.

The full story is available to read online in English and comes with a companion piece titled Who Is Afraid Of Rail Baltica? which looks at people lobbying against the completion of the Rail Baltica project. 

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