Portugal minister expresses support for Rail Baltica financing initiative during EU presidency


2021 02 04

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Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis held a remote conversation on Friday with the Minister for Infrastructure and Housing Pedro Nuno Santos of Portugal, which currently holds the EU presidency, with Lithuania hoping that the EU will adhere to the approved Rail Baltica financing plan.

“We support the priorities of the Portuguese presidency of the EU Council […] in focusing attention on the railways and the transport sector’s recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. In terms of Portugal’s attention to the development of the railroad sector, we applaud this country’s support for Lithuania’s position regarding the financing of Rail Baltica,” M. Skuodis is quoted as saying by the ministry.

This statement by the minister suggests that the request by the three leaders of the Baltic States to Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa to adhere to the agreed upon Rail Baltica financing plan could be heeded.

This is also confirmed by the ministry’s report mentioning Santos’ support for continued financing of the European gauge railway project, Rail Baltica.

Former Estonian interim Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda have requested that Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who currently presides over the EU Council, ensures that in the upcoming negotiations on transport financing, the decision approved by EU leaders on allocating 1.4 billion euros towards the construction of Rail Baltica will be upheld.

Other aspects of the dialogue between M. Skuodis and P. N. Santos pertain to expectations that the European Commission will soon complete the impact evaluation of the Mobility Package, and will return to improving its content.

Negotiations were also discussed regarding the ‘Eurovignette’ system and the seasonal changes of time application, as well as the goals of the EU Green Deal.

Author: Linas Butkus