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The Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee (EUAC) Kalle Palling said that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania must make rapid progress with the Rail Baltic project and must submit a joint application to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to fund it. 

“There is a possibility that the CEF would provide EUR 11.9 billion for cross-border transport projects during the first round. The Baltic states should definitely apply for funding for Rail Baltic,” Palling said.

The CEF first round deadline for funds applications is the end of February 2015. In July this year, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania agreed on founding the joint company RB Rail AS needed for applying for CEF funds. The founding of the joint company is planned for October, and the submission of the application for February next year.

The Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Urve Palo is planning to discuss the joint company with her Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues at the informal meeting of European Union transport ministers, which will take place in Milan tomorrow and the day after.

Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MEAC) Eero Pärgmäe and the MEAC Head of Transport Development and Investments Department Toomas Haidak gave the EUAC an overview of Estonia’s positions ahead of the Milan meeting. On the subject of the route of Rail Baltic, Pärgmäe reported a compromise in Pärnu County, but none yet in Harju and Rapla Counties. He added that the route does not have to be confirmed by the time of the application for funds.

CEF was created as a source of additional funding for developing a pan-European transport infrastructure. Commissioner for Transport of the European Commission Siim Kallas has stated that Rail Baltic is a strong contender for receiving CEF funds.