Stenbock House, Tallinn, 7 February 2020 – At their meeting today in Tallinn, the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian prime ministers reaffirmed their commitment to carrying out the Rail Baltica project as soon as possible. The Baltic prime ministers also discussed the optimisation of the current governance model and stressed the need to address the proposals prepared by the transport ministers of the three countries.
“Our common goal is to build the Rail Baltica railway infrastructure by 2026. The project has received significant financial support from the European Commission. We are looking for the best solutions to improve the governance structure. For this purpose, we are analysing topics related to security, tax solutions, management responsibilities, tender process, and ownership structure,” said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, adding that the prime ministers of the three countries will return to the issue as soon as in late March in Vilnius.
In preparation for the meeting, the transport ministers of the three Baltic States are working together to agree on the appropriate solutions. “The future railway infrastructure management model for Rail Baltica will be a separate issue that we will come to an agreement on later,” Ratas explained, stressing that while work on new solutions for Rail Baltica’s governance structure is underway, the implementation of the project must continue at full speed.
The Baltic prime ministers also reviewed the current status of the ongoing energy projects and discussed new ways of cooperation. “The synchronisation of the Baltic power systems with continental Europe is going well. We are working to ensure the continued co-financing of the Connecting Europe Facility to complete this project,” the prime minister said. “The regional gas market between Finland, Estonia, and Latvia successfully was launched in January 2020. The introduction of Balticconnector has proven to be very effective and has a high volume of deployment. We hope that Lithuania can join us soon as well,” Ratas said when talking about the progress of Baltic cooperation. He stressed that in view of the Green Deal, Estonia would also like to see closer regional cooperation in the field of renewable energy. “We are already working closely with Latvia to conclude a protocol of joint intentions for constructing an offshore wind farm. I sincerely hope we can get it signed soon,” the prime minister said.
Over lunch, the prime ministers discussed the common priorities of the Baltic States with the European Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, in the negotiations on the long-term budget of the European Union. During his meeting with Commissioner Hahn, Ratas stressed the importance of cohesion and agricultural policies in achieving climate neutrality and the need to complete the Rail Baltica project. Estonia needs more flexibility in its cohesion policy and the freedom to choose where to invest its resources.