On 21 October, the Rail Baltica JV of the Baltic States RB Rail AS revealed signing extra cross-border Grant Agreement on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding for the Rail Baltica global project. The calculated budget under this agreement is 422.6 million euros, out of which the CEF contribution is going to be 353.9 million euros or max 85%, whereas the remaining financial contribution is going to be provided by the three Baltic States’ governments (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania).
The agreement is signed between the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia, the Ministry of Transport of Latvia and the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Lithuania and Rail Baltica JV RB Rail AS.
CEO and Chairperson of the Management Board at RB Rail AS, Agnis Driksna, stated: “Today we live in times of increased economic uncertainty resulting from geopolitical crisis, continuous price fluctuations and volatile construction material availability, and it is more important than ever to ensure tight cross-border cooperation between the partners in the three Baltic countries to deliver the Rail Baltica and maintain its position amongst the top priority high-speed infrastructure projects in the European Union. Rail Baltica is no longer a necessity, it is an obligation, and the additional financing granted will allow us to meet the critical targets and further advance with Rail Baltica construction and delivery as a united Baltic project.”
The confirmed activities reflect the priority tasks to be begun already next year, comprising:
- • Remaining Rail Baltica mainline designs in Lithuania, comprising for the mainline section “Poland/Lithuania border to Kaunas urban node”, Kaunas urban node, design of mainline and regional links on section between Kaunas urban node and Vilnius urban node, and design of Vilnius urban node. Supported funding covers part of land expropriation compensations as well.
- • Beginning the construction works on Rail Baltica mainline on the priority section in Latvia close to the Latvia/Lithuania border and development of detailed technical design for the construction base in Skulte infrastructure maintenance facility that is placed in the North section in Latvia towards the Latvia/Estonia border.
- • Building of substructure and related elements on the Rail Baltica mainline in Estonia, containing Ülemiste operational point and design works for capercaillie mitigation measures on section from Pärnu to the Estonia/Latvia border.
- • Activities intended to secure cross-border dimension and technical interoperability, containing Notified Body (NoBo) and Assessment Body (AsBo) assessment services for Design and Construction works, design author supervision of detailed technical design implementation during construction, supervision of construction works by Resident Engineer (FIDIC), plus analyzing the relevant models for the cross-border section construction procurement. Moreover, an activity dedicated to climate proofing methodology development and screening proofing document, containing verification process, is advised for financing.
In addition, the approved activities are going to secure further continuation of the Rail Baltica coordination by RB Rail AS, as a cross-border global project both in terms of technical solutions that enable interoperability, delivery approaches and quality, comprising securing that necessary sustainability and climate-neutral transport infrastructure and consistent with European Green Deal goals are met.
Morten Jensen, Head of Unit at CINEA pointed: “This is a Grant Agreement with a very significant budget and an impressive Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) support of almost 360 million euro, awarded for key work and design activities along the whole Rail Baltica alignment in the three Baltic States. It also shows the continued, strong EU support to the Rail Baltica global project. This is the eight CEF Action supporting the implementation of Rail Baltica and the first grant awarded to this important project in the 2021-2027 financing period. I wish the beneficiaries and the coordinator a smooth implementation and timely completion of the activities in this Grant Agreement.”
The significant amount of this financing advised for the Rail Baltica global project is going to be added to the already available financing from the 2014-2021 financial period where over 1,2 billion euros is available for Rail Baltica implementation, out of which as mentioned, 85% comes from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).