EU awards €928m to enable further progress on Rail Baltica
By Catrin Jones27 June 2023
RB Rail, the joint venture overseeing the Rail Baltica project, has secured €928 million in funding from the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The funds will support the development of the new 1435mm-gauge railway connecting Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
The financial contribution comes as part of the CEF’s Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027.
With the inclusion of national co-financing from the Baltic States, the total funding for Rail Baltica now exceeds a total of €1.1 billion, enabling further progress on the project.
A financing agreement is expected to be signed with the European Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment Executive Agency (Cinea) in Q3 2023. This agreement will support activities such as civil works for various sections of the railway in Estonia and the construction of a railway viaduct near Riga International Airport.
In Latvia, the CEF funding will be utilised for ongoing work on Rail Baltica’s central hub in Riga.
The financing agreement will also cover constructing a priority section of Rail Baltica in Lithuania, from Kaunas to the Latvian border, along with land acquisition.
Combining the latest funding with the €1.6bn previously provided by CEF and the Baltic States, Rail Baltica has now secured a total of €2.7 billion. The estimated capital expenditure for the project, as of 2017, is €5.8 billion.
Adina-Ioana Vălean, the European commissioner for transport, said, “The Rail Baltica project used to be a priority, now it is a geopolitical necessity – we need a resilient transport connection for passengers and freight to and from the Baltic States.
“Overcoming different gauges is imperative to create an integrated European railway area that brings fast trains to the region and gives citizens new opportunities to travel between the Baltic States and the rest of Europe.”