Poland, Lithuania improve transport grid with Rail Baltica and more

Construction of the Rail Baltica route to link Poland, the Baltic States and Finland is to be completed by 2026. A declaration to this effect was signed by the Polish infrastructure minister and the transport minister of Lithuania. The governments of both countries will also support local authorities in their efforts to improve roads in border regions.

Poland’s Infrastructure Minister Andrzej Adamczyk and Lithuanian Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevic signed the declaration on Thursday in Vilnius.

Minister Adamczyk stated that, as part of Rail Baltica, Poland "has been implementing a rail project, which has been the biggest in history and which is worth PLN 3 billion (EUR 750 million)."

"There can be no dynamic economic development without good transport, without good road and rail links," the Polish official said.

On Wednesday, Mr Narkevic visited north-eastern Poland to inspect the Polish stretch of the Rail Baltica corridor.

On Thursday the ministers set the EU-funded route's completion for 2026. Mr Adamczyk said the project promised to be a strong development impulse for the region, especially regarding passenger and freight traffic.

The Polish stretch of the route is to be 347 kilometres long. Its construction is one of the top railway projects underway in Poland.

Besides the clear setting down of the Rail Baltica’s construction deadline, the Polish and Lithuanian Ministers also expressed Poland and Lithuania’s intention to support local authorities in their efforts to improve roads in their border regions. This is found in a letter of intent signed in Vilnius on Thursday.

"All roads, which run to the border, should link us instead of dividing us because of their poor condition," Polish Infrastructure Minister Andrzej Adamczyk said during a press briefing with Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Jaroslav Narkevic.

‘We declare solidarity and unanimity’

Minister Adamczyk noted that Polish and Lithuanian borders formed part of the eastern flank of NATO, and added that these areas had to be looked after by the governments in order to build a good road network.

Both officials also discussed a potential scenario wherein Belarus might close its border with Lithuania and Poland. "We hope that these announcements will not materialise. But we want to be ready and to make their influence on the economy as little as possible if such a thing happens," the Polish official stated.

The Lithuanian minister stated that Lithuania, Poland, Latvia and Ukraine had signed a deal under which the possible closure of the border would not be used to the detriment of other countries. "We declare solidarity and unanimity," he said.