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Parts replied to interpellation concerning developments of Rail Baltic 

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip made a political statement before the Riigikogu in which he announced his resignation from the office of the head of government. 

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts replied to the interpellation concerning the developments of Rail Baltic (No 378), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Lauri Laasi, Yana Toom, Priit Toobal, Peeter Võsa, Urbo Vaarmann and Ester Tuiksoo on 20 January. 

The interpellators wished to know in what stage the Rail Baltic project was at the moment and how the current schedule had been followed. 

In Parts’s words, the Rail Baltic project is in the stage of county plans and strategic environmental impact assessment which Estonia begun in spring 2013. According to the current schedule, one preferred route should be selected by summer 2014 and a “pre-project” will be prepared for this route. It should be completed by the end of 2015. After that, it will be possible to enter the investment decisions stage and then the construction stage. An exactly similar task setting is underway as regards our partners, that is, Latvia and Lithuania, Parts explained. 

In the Minister’s words, Rail Baltic has always been a topic in one way or another at practically all regular meetings of the ministers of transport of the Baltic states as well as the Nordic and Baltic ministers of transport. The last meeting was on 5 March. “Unfortunately, it appeared at those meetings that the Lithuanian delegation did not have the mandate to discuss a compromise proposal concerning inclusion of Vilnius in the Rail Baltic route,” Parts said. In his words, the idea of Estonia’s proposal had been that inclusion of Vilnius might come under discussion under two conditions. First, Lithuania will have to conduct a cost-benefit analysis which will have to show at least similar cost-effectiveness as the AECOM study. It is a study that was made for the Rail Baltic project in 2010 on the basis of a joint initial task of three Baltic states and the European Commission and is now the basis for those preparation works. In order to handle the Vilnius issues professionally, a cost-benefit analysis at the same level is needed and that is what Lithuanians should do. After the cost-benefit analysis, an approval should also be obtained from the European Commission that the Vilnius connection is legally acceptable, taking into account the European Union legislation. In Parts’s words, Latvia also supports these proposals. He added the position of the Lithuanian delegation who had stated at the meeting that they had no mandate to discuss this compromise proposal. Seven other disagreements had remained regarding the formation of a joint enterprise. 

The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for the beginning of April and the problems that have emerged are planned to be discussed there. From our point of view, the establishment of a joint enterprise continues to be important and it should be formed as soon as possible, Parts noted. He explained that, in order that Rail Baltic would be able to count on EU investment aid, i.e. to the extent of up to 85%, in its investment plan, we have to compete with all other European Union investment projects. In order to compete, high-quality preparation work needs to have been done and the three countries must pursue a common cause. There also has to be a legal unit who is the developer of and investor in this project, the Minister explained. 

Parts also replied to the interpellation concerning the spread of computer malware in Estonia (No 381). 

The Minister of Internal Affairs Ken-Marti Vaher replied to the interpellation concerning the statements concerning Estonia as a new transit country for South-American drug cartels, presented by the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais (No 379). 

The Minister of Culture Urve Tiidus replied to the interpellation concerning age limits for participants in the Dance Festival (No 382). 

During the open microphone, Mihhail Stalnuhhin and Marianne Mikko took the floor. 

A photo of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip making the political statement: https://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/2014/Riigikogu/10032014/

The Riigikogu Press Service