EU funding deal for Rail Baltica signed

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An agreement between the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and joint venture of the three Baltic states, RB Rail, was signed in Tallinn on Tuesday for the EU financing in the amount of 442 million euros for the first stage of construction of the Rail Baltic high-speed railway from the Connecting Europe Facility.

This financing is intended for the first stage of the project -- the activities that will begin in 2015 and are to be completed by the end of 2020, including geological surveys, expropriation of land, communication with the public and some initial construction works in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The agreement was signed by RB Rail CEO Baiba Rubesa and INEA Director Dirk Beckers.

"This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate and prove that the three Baltic States can work together in a unified manner in pursuit of a common goal. RB Rail will establish proper project governance that ensures transparent and effective project management, as well as good and efficient business practices," Rubesa said.

RB Rail is the central coordinator for the Rail Baltica project. Its mandate is to receive all project financing and manage it in accordance with specific regulations that apply to the financing recipients in the three participating countries – the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Latvian Ministry of Transport, and the Lithuanian Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The project will be implemented by the Estonian Technical Regulatory Authority and Rail Baltic Estonia, Eiropas Dzelzcela Linijas in Latvia, and Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai and Rail Baltica Statyba in Lithuania.

On July 10, 2015, the EU Member States approved the list of projects to receive funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which includes the 'Rail Baltica' high-speed rail project.

Rail Baltica is a proposed high-speed line to link Helsinki with Berlin through the Baltic capitals by 2024.

The key goal of the project is to renew regional integration by re-joining the Baltic states with the European rail network.

The project will cost Latvia about 1.27 billion euro. It is co-funded by Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The first part of the project acquired more than 80% in funding from the CEF.

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