Poland and the Baltic States have reached all the necessary agreements in order to link Poland, Finland and the Baltic States with the unified Trans-European Transport Network (NRA) that will be crucial to the defense of the Baltic States.
Earlier this month, all the necessary political, financial and technical agreements have been reached by the governments of Poland and the Baltic States in order to link Poland, Finland and the Baltic States with the unified Trans-European Transport Network (NRA) and, in this way, implement one of the most important and ambitious projects inside the EU. A continuous rail link from Tallinn (Estonia) to Warsaw (Poland), via Kaunas (Lithuania) and Riga (Latvia), is envisioned by the project, which also will lead to significant logistical implications for the NATO.
According to the agreements, the construction of the railway, which has already been named ‘Rail Baltica’, is planned to be started by 2020 and to be completed by 2030. For now, existing commercial ferries will operate the section from Helsinki to Tallinn.
About 442 million euro ($485 million) or 81.83 percent of the co-financing of the project have already been allocated by the European Commission for the construction of Rail Baltica until 2020.
This summer, chairman of the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee, Michael Cramer, stressed the importance of Rail Baltica.
“In 2003, I traveled by train from Berlin to Tallinn. This trip lasted 60 hours, and I had to transfer nine times. Before World War II, the same route could be accomplished within 27 hours. Thus, the Rail Baltica project is very important both ecologically, because trains are more environmentally friendly, and, of course, it is necessary to connect the Baltic States with the rest of Europe,” Cramer said on August 28.
In September, the parliamentarians of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia announced that “Rail Baltica would be the most important project for the Baltic States in the 21st century.” They stressed that the railway would be not only the promotion of good neighborly relations and solidarity, but also be crucial for regional economics and, first of all, for national security of the Baltic States.
So, up to 120 armored vehicles can be moved by a typical train in a single trip. The new Rail Baltica line, which will use the standard 1,435 mm gauge, as the most NATO member states, will allow the alliance to move large volumes of military cargo from Poland and Germany to the Baltic States without interruption that in its turn will save time, as well as limit the numbers of transport equipment and personnel, involved in the logistics. In this way, Rail Baltica has the potential to become crucial to the defense of the Baltic States.