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Rail Baltica – the key success factor in Helsinki-Tallinn integration scenarios

Supported on both national and EU levels, the new Rail Baltica would further impact the tightening of logistic connections between Helsinki and Tallinn.

The outcomes of the two years long Helsinki–Tallinn Transport and Planning Scenarios project (H-T Transplan) were summed up in Helsinki, 22 November 2012. The project focused on mutual integration of Helsinki-Tallinn capital regions in terms of transport networks and infrastructural planning. The project studies introduced four further integration scenarios, two of which presume the construction of Rail Baltic: “Business cooperation between Helsinki and Tallinn will develop successfully and will be further accelerated by the opening of Rail Baltic, which would create new opportunities for logistics-related business”.

The conference key-note speeches also emphasized that Rail Baltica would advance tightening of logistic connections and provide a window of opportunities in the Helsinki-Tallinn region.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland repeated Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen’s viewpoint recognizing the role of a new fast train connection in the economic development of Finland. “Rail Baltica can attract Finnish companies to allocate the production to its catchment area. The project will also improve the accessibility to the European market and the usage of resources in the region in short and long term perspectives”, Ministry’s Leading Expert Lassi Hilska commented.

The Ministerial Counsellor for Transport and Logistics of Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Anti Moppel, reported that the Estonian Rail Baltica team successfully cooperates with different authorities including Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish Logistic Clusters. “The overall political support of Rail Baltica project has gained new momentum with the creation of the Task Force that has become the main international working group coordinating and steering all the preparatory works for Rail Baltica. The Task Force has adopted the common principles for the spatial planning and preliminary design of the Rail Baltic. It also initiated the Joint Venture Study to be completed by the end of 2012 so that the decisions on the national ministries level could be made already in 2013”, Mr Moppel stated.

The Task Force has been actively promoting Rail Baltica on national levels and involving the European Commission into the planning process. Under the proposed new TEN-T guidelines and its accompanying financial package The Connecting Europe Facility the EU may support the cost of the project up to 85%.

“Being a part of Baltic-Adriatic corridor 1, the train connection from Tallinn to Bialystock is the weakest link in the whole European Core Network Corridors system. Thus one can be optimistic in respect of Rail Baltica EU funding”, TEN-T Policy coordinator James Pond lined out.

The conference materials are available on the Talsinki.net Knowledge Platform