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Rail Baltica should be fully operational in 2026 – Kucinskis
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    Rail Baltica should be fully operational in 2026 – Kucinskis

    RIGA, Dec 18 (LETA) – Rail Baltica fast train should be fully operational in 2026, said Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis (Greens/Farmers) at the meeting of the Baltic Council of Ministers in Tallinn today.

    The prime minister’s office reported that during the meeting the prime ministers discussed security in the region, further cooperation among the Baltic states, implementation of the NATO summit decisions and preparations for the NATO summit in Brussels next year.

    This year the intergovernmental agreement on transport infrastructure project Rail Baltica was signed, it has been ratified and has come into force. Kucinskis said that the agreement and the ability to agree on the project demonstrate the ability of the Baltic states to cooperate constructively.

    "Now we have to work on implementation of the agreement – ensure that the rail project is developed by 2025 and it can be fully operational in 2026," said Kucinskis. He also said that the project gives a clear signal to the Finnish and Polish partners that it aims at closer integration of the region.

    Discussing energy issues, it was emphasized that since opening of the Latvian natural gas market, the market activity has risen, and there is a growing cooperation among Baltic companies. The next joint challenge is development of the Baltic-Finnish regional gas market. Latvia is satisfied with the progress in the Balticconnector project that will ensure physical integration of the Finnish and Baltic markets.

    At the same time, it is important to ensure implementation of the Gas Interconnector Poland-Lithuania (GIPL) project which will mean a connection of the Baltic region with Central European gas market and ensure alternative natural gas supplies. It is important to efficiently use the existing regional infrastructure, such as Incukalns underground gas storage facility.

    Speaking about security, Kucinskis said that the events of the past 3-4 years have brought new intensity of the Baltic cooperation in security and defense. A successful solution has been found to deter threats and ensure the presence of the allies in the region. "The current NATO policy in relations to Russia is acceptable to us and we do not see any significant change in Russia’s behavior to change that," said Kucinskis, adding that Latvia will allocate 2 percent of its gross domestic product for defense starting from 2018.

    The Baltic Council of Ministers (BCM), established on 13 June 1994, is an institution for governmental cooperation among Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The highest decision-making body of the Baltic Council of Ministers is the Session of the heads of government (Council of Ministers), which takes place at least once a year. The BCM is charged with ensuring the continuity of cooperation at the executive level of the states. It is responsible for cooperation among the governments of the Baltic states, as well as the cooperation between the governments and the Baltic Assembly.

    • Published: 18.12.2017 15:44
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