Government Communication Unit
Tallinn, 3 February 2013 - At today's meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Baltic States, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip assured that connecting Vilnius to the Rail Baltic railway line is a matter for negotiation between Lithuania and the European Commission. Ansip also stressed that the project's time schedule should not be influenced by it, and that it is essential for a joint undertaking to be created as soon as possible, as this is a prerequisite for applying for EU funding by this spring.
The issues that have hindered the scheduled progress of the Rail Baltic project were discussed at the meeting. In commenting on the question that caused most discussion - whether Rail Baltic should pass through Vilnius - Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said that he understands completely how important the connecting of Rail Baltic with Vilnius is for Lithuania.
"What the exact location of the line will be, whether through Kaunas alone, or through Kaunas and Vilnius, or through Kaunas with an additional connection to Vilnius, is an matter for negotiation between Lithuania and the European Commission", the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Ansip added that it is important for Estonia for the project to proceed quickly and that the preparation process should not obstruct applying for funds from the EU by this spring.
The prime ministers also discussed the action plan for Estonia's presidency of the Baltic Council of Ministers in the area of cooperation in information and communication technology, with a focus on the mutual cross-border use of digital signatures.
Estonia has a clear goal in this question - to implement interfaces in public digital signing software by the end of this year that will allow citizens and businesses of the Baltic States sign mutual documents digitally, using the electronic identity (eID) platforms of the three countries.
The premises for realising this scenario exist, as the eID systems of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been built on similar foundations.
The Prime Ministers approved of the action plan, giving Estonia the mandate to carry out technical meetings between experts and officials of the three countries in the course of the year, with the aim of designing more detailed agreements and working out a long-term action plan.
The Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, also joined the Prime Ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The agenda of the meeting included the current situation in the Ukraine, the climate and energy policies of EU and joint energy projects.
Photos of the meeting can be seen at: http://valitsus.ee/et/uudised/...
Baltic Prime Ministers: Rail Baltic is an important infrastructure project for all three countries