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Marius Skuodis: Vilnius and Klaipėda should be placed on the Trans-European Transport Network map

Date

2022 01 12

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Vilnius should appear on the map of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) as part of the Rail Baltica project, while Klaipėda should be connected with Kaunas by a high-speed train line. The above ideas were expressed by Minister Marius Skuodis during his Tuesday meeting in Vilnius with Jean’Baptiste Djebbari, Minister Delegate for Transport of France, which is starting its Presidency of the Council of Europe.

“France and the French Minister put significant effort into encouraging citizens’ mobility by trains within the country and thus reducing environmental pollution. In Lithuania our aim is to offer more travelling options for passengers. We also strive to promote passenger and freight transport by trains, which is a convenient and environmentally-friendly means of transport. Thus, our capital and our only seaport must be placed on the map of the Trans-European Transport Network,” Minister Skuodis said during the meeting with his French counterpart.

The matters regarding the promotion of railway transport and efficient and green mobility package, which, inter alia, involves reviewing TEN-T, have been included by France into the list of priority issues to be addressed by the EU Council of Transport Ministers during the French Presidency. The TEN-T regulation aims at promoting railway transport in terms of passenger mobility and freight, as well as at increasing the speed of network trains (with average speed reaching 160 km/h for passenger trains and 100 km/h for freight trains), including increasing the number of goods to be transported by inland waterways and short sea shipping.

Trains comprise 12 percent of all traffic in France (while this figure stands at only 1 percent in Lithuania).

During the meeting the Ministers discussed Paris’s plans to reach common agreement in the Council with regard to Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation which aims at committing EU Member States to expand electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refilling network by installing special charging points along the major motorways.

The ministers of both countries discussed the targets stipulated in the Regulation that aim at committing the Member States to build more electric vehicle charging points taking into account the number of eco-friendly cars sold and, to install charging and refilling points at the set distances along major EU motorways and in compliance with the requirements set forth for common charging power: i. e. electric charging points every 60 km, hydrogen refilling points every 150 km.

Lithuanian Minister Marius Skuodis underlined the fact that while welcoming the idea to expand the network of charging and refilling points, he also believes that the EU will contribute financially to the implementation of such an ambitious goal.

The ministers also discussed geopolitical situation in the region and its effect on the transport sector, as well as the relations with China.