EU visibility to Rail Baltica projects
Rail Baltica Growth Corridor (RBGC) and RBGC Russia were presented in Copenhagen on 18.-19.6.2012 at the BDF Summit and the Annual Meeting of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR).
Leaded by the City of Helsinki and coordinated by Aalto University, the Rail Baltica Growth Corridor project is part of EUSBSR flagship project in transport. The RBGC partnership consists of 21 partners in six countries – Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany – and associate partners from e.g. Russia and Sweden. RBGC is part-financed by the Baltic Sea Region programme of the European Union, and RBGC Russia is part-financed by the EU Delegation to Russia.
"The goal of the two projects is to improve the accessibility of Eastern Baltic Sea Region. This will enhance the global competitiveness of the region," explains Project Manager Malla Paajanen from Aalto University School of Economics Small Business Center.
Modern train connection for passenger and cargo transport from Helsinki via St. Petersburg to Berlin is the joint vision of the two projects. The vision of the transport corridor through six countries is an immense challenge even on the European level. The TEN-T network of core corridors suggested by DG MOVE includes the plan to initiate the construction of a modern UIC gauge rail connection through the Baltic States before 2020.
Projects presented at the EU conference
The 14th BDF Summit entitled 'Connecting Europe – Smart and green partnerships' and the 3rd EUSBSR annual meeting brought together over 800 participants. Annually, these two events gather EU-level and national decision makers, cities, regions, and representatives of private companies.
This year the events marked the importance of the EUSBSR implementation in order to increase the competitiveness of the region. EUSBSR is the first so-called macro-regional strategy in the EU. The events were organized by the Baltic Development Forum and DG Regio. The occasion was opened by HRH Crown prince Frederik of Denmark.
The list of key-note speakers included Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Estonia Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn and Vice-President of European Commission and Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas. The importance of economic and transport cooperation in the region was emphasized in key-note speeches. BSR has potential to become the most competitive region in the EU. Prime Minister Ansip and Vice-President Kallas mentioned Rail Baltica as an important aim to be achieved.
The stand of RBGC and RBGC Russia was visited by Vice-President Siim Kallas, in the photo together with Project Manager Malla Paajanen. Photo: Dima Stepanchuk