On 29 June 2022, the Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail AS on behalf of the project’s beneficiaries the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia, the Ministry of Transport of Latvia and the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Lithuania announced that more than 350 million euros will be awarded to Rail Baltica in the first call of the new financial period 2021-2027, that in combination with the national co-financing from the three Baltic States exceed 400 million euros.
The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) received 399 proposals, for a total of 14 billion euros of requested co-funding. Out of these 135 project proposals were selected for funding of a total 5.4 billion euros across all EU Member States. The amount allocated to the Rail Baltica project is the third largest among all projects.
The Grant Agreement, which is planned to be signed in Q3 of 2022 will include the following activities:
- Remaining Rail Baltica mainline designs in Lithuania, including for the section between “Polish and Lithuanian state border” and Kaunas urban node, Kaunas urban node, design of mainline and regional connections in section between Kaunas urban node and Vilnius urban node, and design of Vilnius urban node. Supported funding also covers part of land expropriation compensations.
- Start of construction works in Rail Baltica mainline on the priority section in Latvia near the Latvian / Lithuanian border and development of detailed technical design for the Construction base in Skulte infrastructure maintenance facility.
- Construction of substructure and associated elements on the Rail Baltica mainline in Estonia, including Ülemiste operational point and design works for capercaillie mitigation measures from Pärnu to the Estonia/Latvia border.
- Activities aimed to ensure cross-border dimension and technical interoperability, including 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), as well as analysing the relevant models for the cross-border section construction procurement. Also, an activity dedicated to climate proofing methodology development and screening proofing document, including verification process, is recommended for financing.
“Over the last years the Baltic states have proven the commitment for delivery and progress – design works are progressing in 640 km of the 870 km Rail Baltica line, prioritising completion of works in sections chosen for construction, and the design and design supervision procurements for Kaunas – Vilnius and Kaunas – Lithuania/Poland border have been launched. First construction works are progressing in all states in some of the most complex elements of the mainline, and construction procurements have been announced allowing further large-scale main line construction works to commence when designs and land acquisition is completed,” said Mr Agnis Driksna, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO at RB Rail AS.
“In addition, numerous actions at national level are progressing to address the project acceleration needs, including legislation improvements and key project partners being mobilised for timely decision-making for the key project implementation issues,” Mr Driksna added.
Given that this application was submitted based on the conditions defined in the summer of 2021, the next financing call in 2022 is expected to reflect funding conditions and necessary flexibility to accelerate particularly mature and EU-level strategic activities in the post-24 February 2022 situation. The activities applied for but not receiving financing under the 2021 Call and will be applied in the next call.
“This first grant under the new Connecting Europe Facility 2021-2027 shows the continuation of the Commission’s support to the project, which has become more important than ever in the current geopolitical situation. It will allow the project to continue its smooth implementation. As the maturity of the project will increase further, we expect further applications for funding in the next call for proposals,” said Catherine Trautmann, European Coordinator for the North-Sea Baltic TEN-T Corridor
The project partners are meeting during the Connecting Europe Days, Europe’s mobility flagship event, from 28 to 30 June in Lyon, France, to discuss concrete steps to mitigate the negative effects of the geopolitical situation, as well as opportunities to strengthen the implementation of Rail Baltica at Baltic and EU level.
“We appreciate the received funding recommendations that will allow to ensure further implementation of those project activities where sufficient maturity level has been achieved, including considering absorption levels of the already granted financing. At the same time, with the completion of the design works and progress in the procurement of construction contracts, Rail Baltica global project will be ready for even more ambitious programme for the next financing call corresponding to the Rail Baltica global project’s maturity and target to ensure the cross-border connection by 2030 as defined at EU,” emphasized the Chairman of the Board at RB Rail AS Mr Agnis Driksna.
For additional context:
In 2021, actions to ensure interoperability, benefit from the economies of scale and strengthening the project’s cross-border dimension were taken such as the consolidated construction materials’ procurements, EU-level electrification subsystem design and build procurement, launched by the Rail Baltica joint venture early in June 2022, and the Control-Command and Signalling Engineering and Works Supervision contract signed early 2022 allowing to proceed with preparations for the railway subsystems’ design and build procurement.
In the current geopolitical context, specific measures addressing market concerns and volatile economic situation were applied, addressing inflation and material supply short-term issues and strengthening the resilience for price fluctuation in the medium term through use of consolidated construction material procurements. In 2Q 2022, the global project launched the Rail Baltica procurement plan providing an overview of the planned tenders, timeline, with the total planned contract amounts exceeding 2 billion euros.
The considerable amount of this financing recommended for the Rail Baltica global project will be added to the already available financing from the 2014-2021 financial period where more than 1,2 billion euros is available for Rail Baltica implementation, out of which 85% comes from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)).
The CEF Transport programme implements the European Union’s transport infrastructure policy by supporting investments in building or upgrading transport infrastructure across Europe.