Baltic states pledge progress by February on Rail Baltica

On Friday 6 December Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš met with Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis to discuss issues of importance to the Baltic region – most pressingly the Rail Baltica project following recent resignations from executives overseeing the project and expressions of concern from other employees, as previously reported by LSM.

At a joint press conference the three Baltic PMs did their best to put on a united front with Kariņš saying it was of "vital importance" and that their transport ministers will be charged with liaising with the European Commission and "improving those aspects which can be improved" as far as project implementation is concerned.

They also signed a joint statement stressing their common purpose which, after some re-stating of why the project is required in the first place, moves on to acknowledge that things may not have been going as smoothly as previously thought.

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The prime ministers "Recognised the need to address certain risks in the project implementation – time, cost as well as financing of the project, therefore agreed on the need to significantly improve the project governance, namely: 1. To task the Ministers responsible for transport to present a proposal towards an integrated project delivery model to improve and speed up agreed and ongoing actions as well as timely implementation of the project at the BCM [Baltic Council of Ministers] on February 7, 2020. 2. To invite the Ministers responsible for transport to provide a Rail Baltica Project progress report to the Prime Ministers on a regular basis."

Such "common solutions" and progress reports should already have been implicit in the structure of RB Rail, the jointly-owned company supposed to be overseeing all aspects of the project, though the February 7 reporting deadline is new.
 
However, the claims about the current situation drew some stinging rebukes from Baiba Rubesa, the former CEO of RB Rail, who outright accused Lithuania's prime minister of lying in the press conference.
 

The full press conference of the Baltic Prime Ministers (with Latvian translation) can be watched below.

 

 

Later in the day Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also dropped in as a special guest.

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