#EU Prepares Further Funding for Rail #Baltica, #Finland’s Main Line

Late on Thursday, the EU institutions reached a political agreement on the content of a funding program to support transport, energy and digital projects.

The archive shows a railway bridge over the Daugava River in Riga, Latvia.
The archive shows a railway bridge over the Daugava River in Riga, Latvia. Vladislav Zadjko / All Over Press

The Rail Baltica railway project, which runs through the Baltic countries, is receiving significant additional funding from the EU.

Negotiations between the EU institutions have reached a political agreement on a new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding for transport, energy and digital projects. As part of the negotiations, Rail Baltica’s opportunities to receive additional funding from the EU have been secured.

The negotiations also ensured that Finland’s main line will become part of Europe’s major cross-border rail connections, so that the main line’s chances of receiving support money from the EU will be strengthened.

Henna Virkkunen ( MEP ), one of the main negotiators in the Parliament, considers the outcome of the negotiations to be very good for Finland. He reminds that raising the main line to one of the key connections was one of Finland’s main goals.

– This is the number one thing for Finns, Virkkunen comments to BTI.

Virkkunen is also pleased with the additional funding secured for Rail Baltica, as a high-speed rail connection south of Tallinn would also improve the opportunities for Finns to travel by rail to Central Europe.

– Building a significant modern railway connection for the small Baltic countries is a very big contract, Virkkunen points out.

There was a lot of discussion during the negotiations about securing Rail Baltica’s funding opportunities. According to Virkkunen, there were differences of opinion between the parliament and the member states.

Target: 60% of the money to meet climate targets

The Connecting Europe Facility funding program is around € 33 billion. The amount was already agreed in the context of the EU’s multiannual budget, but now the EU institutions have been negotiating the more detailed content of the program.

The negotiations agreed on the target that 60% of the programme’s funding should contribute to the achievement of climate goals. Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, MEP (sd.), Who took part in the negotiations, considers it important that the terms of funding look ahead and that support goes to building modern and smart infrastructure.

– More funding goes to the railways, not much to the motorways anymore. And with regard to energy, specifically to the demanding infrastructure of renewable energy, Kumpula-Natri comments to STT.

A political agreement requires final approval from the Council, which represents the member states, and the European Parliament.

Finland received EUR 250 million for the ending programming period

According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Finland has received a total of approximately EUR 250 million in support from the previous CEF funding program in 2014–2020.

The ministry announced on Thursday that the state applied for money from the last call of the ending program period for the development planning of the main line connection between Tampere and Oulu, as well as for the dual track between Kupittaa and Turku and the construction plan for the Turku yard.

In addition, other actors applied for support for the Port of Helsinki and the Port of Turku projects.

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