20.01. 2014 It is in the interest of all three Baltic States as well as the EU to start building Rail Baltic without delay
MEP Tunne Kelam urged all three Baltic States to focus on the essential – the actual construction of Rail Baltic.
„It is apparent that some national differences do exist and that occasionally outside forces may amplify these. This is part of national sovereignty and a reality that must be considered,“ stated Kelam. It is important to base mutual relations on respect and equality. At present, however, most important is that an occasional misspoken communication should not overshadow the essential common interest of all – the creation of a modern highspeed rail connection from the Baltics to the heart of Europe, to Berlin and Brussels. Rail Baltic is a unique opportunity for all parties to eliminate the artificial isolation of the Baltic States created by the Soviet Union. This is a matter of the strategic security interests of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, not merely a question of transportation connections, believes Kelam.
At the European Parliament session in July which saw the beginning the Lithuanian Presidency, Kelam pointed out to the Lithuanian President the necessity of reaching agreement without delay on the practical preparations for Rail Baltic. Similar concern was repeated in November 2013, at the European Parliament’s Baltic-Europe intergroup meeting, initiated by its chairman Kelam and attended by the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, the Vice-President of the European Commission, Siim Kallas, the Lithuanian Deputy Minister for Transportation, Estonian MEP Ivar Padar and others.
„This is a historic and unique opportunity for all three Baltic States, “added Kelam. „Thanks largely to Commissioner Kallas’ efforts; the European Commission has given a green light for Rail Baltic, including 85% of the financing of the construction. To get bogged down now in mutual dissension would mean that this big project would be delayed until after the European Parliamentary elections, when a new European Commission will take office and when the constellation of forces and interests may change.“
Tunne Kelam, a member of the EPP, the largest political group in the European Parliament, expressed the hope that the sense of the mutual strategic interests of the Baltic States and the goodwill of all partners would lead to a positive solution.