Parliament of Flanders delegation visits Rail Baltica: the project is a showcase of resilience and power of European cooperation

This week, a delegation from the Committee of Foreign Policy, European Affairs, International Cooperation, and Tourism of the Parliament of Flanders, explored the Rail Baltica project in Riga as part of their visit to Latvia, organized by Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT).

The delegation was warmly greeted by the central coordinator of the Rail Baltica project, RB Rail AS, and the national implementing body in Latvia, SIA Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas. A presentation by the Rail Baltica delivery organizations provided an overview of the Rail Baltica project, while BERERIX, the association of companies responsible for the construction of Rail Baltica Riga Central node, offered insights into the ongoing progress at future Rail Baltica Riga station, a project that has been actively advancing since 2020.

Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), a facilitator of Flanders-based companies in their export initiatives and the attraction of foreign investments to the region, organized this visit as part of its mission to support international activities by Flanders-based companies and enhance the region’s global competitiveness.

In the words of Ms Cathy Coudyser, Chair of the Committee of Foreign Policy, European Affairs, International Cooperation and Tourism of the Parliament of Flanders: “The visit to Rail Baltica was very insightful. The project’s scale and the level of cooperation between the different Baltic States are genuinely inspiring. It serves as a sign of resilience and a demonstration of what can be achieved through European cooperation.”

This collaboration follows previous interactions between Rail Baltica and FIT. In 2019, a roadshow in Belgium was organized jointly with FIT and the Walloon Export and Foreign Investment Agency, facilitating meetings with suppliers, national railway company representatives (both operators and infrastructure managers), as well as representatives from the logistics sector.

Representative of the project’s central coordinator, Head of the Latvian Branch at RB Rail AS, Ms Kitija Gruškevica emphasized the importance of international collaboration, stating: “Rail Baltica is a global and truly European project with more than 200 active contracts and over 50 international partnerships where the European industry is strongly represented. We are glad to establish new contacts and explore potential avenues for expanding collaboration within our partner network.”

Mr Arnis Staltmanis, Board Member at Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas, stressed that Riga Central Hub alone features a team of more then 20 nationalities and general contractors from 6 countries. He commended the excellent cooperation with Belgium’s company BESIX, the leading partner in the general association BERERIX. Construction of Rail Baltica in Latvia is well underway approaching the next phase with largescale mainline construction outside Riga.

The delegation’s site visit was led by Mr Rob Demeersman, Design Manager for Riga Central Station, to observ firsthand the progress that has been achieved thus far. Mr Wouter Debeyne, Economic Counselor of Flanders, noted: “The site visit of Riga Railway station showed how much progress has been made to date and how the project is in full swing. At the same time, there is still much work on the table, with open tenders and opportunities in the pipeline. We hope that more Flemish companies can get involved in this pivotal project.”