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ECR

Open letter to the Governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland

19 May 2016

Open letter to the Governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland

Open letter to the Governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland

Open letter to the Governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland

When the CEF financial instrument was created, the European Parliament put the “use-it-or-lose-it” condition as one of the basic principles for use of the ring-fenced Cohesion fund envelopes as part of CEF, in order to ensure implementation of well-prepared cross-border projects with the highest European added-value, which strengthen the entire European transport core network, provide connectivity of the EU regions and have a geopolitically strategic importance.

To move forward with the “Rail Baltica” project and to avoid any risk of failing to commit allocated financial resources, we, the undersigning Members of the European Parliament and supporters of the “Friends of Rail Baltica initiative”, call on the Governments of the three involved countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania:

– to recognise and to strengthen the role of the RB Rail Joint Venture as the most optimal body, in accordance with the shareholders’ agreement and the CEF Grant Agreement, for management of a cross-national project of as significant a scale as “Rail Baltica”. Joint and efficient co-ordination is essential to avoid technological barriers for interoperability of rail systems. The Joint Venture is the most efficient way to submit joint applications for EU funding, proceed with both joint as well as national public procurements, co-ordinate the project’s works, and to demonstrate that involved Member States are able to co-operate. Moreover, efficient project management will demonstrate to the EU citizens and tax payers that their money is being spent on the project with true European added value.

– to evaluate the common gain of the entire project, instead of perceiving it only as a tool for national interests to develop fragmented infrastructure parts in the respective countries. The entire project is of significant strategic importance for all the Member States involved as well as for the region starting from Finland (with the possible “Bothnian extension”), continuing to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and going further to Germany, Netherlands and Southern Europe. At the same time the constructed infrastructure in each country will remain the property of each country while taxation for activities performed in each country will contribute to each nation’s Budget.

– we call on the national authorities of the Baltic States to do their utmost to ensure that the project is irreversibly moving forward and no further fall-backs and delays are possible. If the European Commission’s rules, timetable and expectations are not respected, the EU co-funding of app 85% will be lost since it becomes available to all the other Cohesion Member States for their CEF transport infrastructure projects. Thus, further conditions of the funding in future will never be as favourable as they are now.
We should remember that it was a great effort to include “Rail Baltica” amongst the six priority projects of trans-European transport in this planning period.

At the recent meeting (10 May 2016 in Strasbourg) of the “Friends of Rail Baltica initiative” Members of the European Parliament not only from three Baltic States but also other countries along the North Sea-Baltic CEF core network corridor (Finland, Germany, Poland,) met with the Coordinator for the North Sea-Baltic Corridor Catherine Trautmann and CEO of the RB Rail Joint Venture Mrs Baiba Rubesa and discussed the latest developments of the “Rail Baltica” project.
The European Parliament and “Friends of Rail Baltica initiative” Members will closely follow further developments of the “Rail Baltica” to ensure that it becomes a successful cross-border transport infrastructure project of the North Sea-Baltic Corridor.

Signatures:

Zigmantas BALČYTIS (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament);

Michael CRAMER (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance);

Ismail ERTUG (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament);

Krišjānis KARIŅŠ (Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats);

Tunne KELAM (Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats);

Merja KYLLÖNEN (Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left);

Bogusław LIBERADZKI (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament);

Gesine MEISSNER (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe);

Artis PABRIKS (Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats);

Urmas PAET (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe);

Tomasz Piotr PORĘBA (European Conservatives and Reformists Group);

Bronis ROPÉ (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance);

Petri SARVAMAA (Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats);

Henna VIRKKUNEN (Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)

Roberts ZĪLE (European Conservatives and Reformists Group);

Kosma ZŁOTOWSKI (European Conservatives and Reformists Group).

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