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2014.06.19 11:28

Lithuania’s PM hopes to sign agreements on Rail Baltica on June 21

BNS | DELFI | The Lithuania Tribune2014.06.19 11:28

(BNS) Lithuania’s Prime Minister hopes to sign agreements for the planned Rail Baltica joint venture at the meeting of Baltic countries’ government leaders on Saturday.

(BNS) Lithuania’s Prime Minister hopes to sign agreements for the planned Rail Baltica joint venture at the meeting of Baltic countries’ government leaders on Saturday.

Algirdas Butkevičius will meet with his Latvian and Estonian counterparts as well as with the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Tallinn.

“I’m going to Tallinn on Saturday, we are meeting with the European Commission President Barroso. Prime Ministers of three Baltic countries will participate and I hope we will sign certain final documents,” Butkevičius said in an interview to Žinių Radijas on Thursday.

Ricardas Slapšys, spokesman for transport minister, told BNS on Thursday that the prime ministers should sign a political declaration on the establishment of a joint venture for the European-standard gauge railway project.

On Wednesday, the negotiators from the three Baltic countries finally reached an agreement on the provisions of a shareholders’ agreement for the planned joint venture, including the much-disputed inclusion of Vilnius in the project.

Transport Minister Rimantas Sinkevičius told BNS on Wednesday that he did not expect any changes relating to the agreement to take place.

The total length of Rail Baltica is around 360 kilometers in Lithuania, slightly more than 300 kilometres in Latvia and about 300 kilometres in Estonia.

Plans call for building a new 1,435-millimeter gauge railway section from the border with Poland to Kaunas, estimated to cost 1.3 billion litas (EUR 376.8 mln), by the end of 2015, and a 4.4-billion-litas section from Kaunas to the border with Latvia with a branch to Vilnius in another five to seven years.

Lithuania’s railways were built to the Russian gauge of 1,520 millimetres, whereas the European gauge is narrower, of 1,435 millimetres.

Rail Baltica would connect Helsinki with Warsaw through Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas and Vilnius and would be extended up to Berlin.

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