Lithuania’s state controlled railway company Lithuanian Railways has signed a common procurement agreement of Rail Baltica, the head of the company said on Saturday.
The news came following the EU notice that the funding to Rail Baltica’s Lithuanian projects could be suspended.
Stasys Dailydka, head of Lithuanian Railways, said on Saturday that he has already signed the procurement agreement on Friday.
“I have signed it. Of course, I did it yesterday evening. I just don’t have to report to anyone,” Dailydka told BNS news agency on Saturday when being asked about the EU’s notices.
Lithuanian national rail company was the last one of the nine partners of the Rail Baltica project to sign the contracting scheme.
Dailydka highlighted that his signature wasn’t related to the EU’s decision to look into the causes of the Rail Baltica delay.
On Friday, the EU’s directorate general for transport and mobility (DG MOVE) told the joint company of the three Baltic countries RB Rail that it had ordered the innovation and network executive agency (INEA) to immediately examine why the signing of the common procurement contract has been stalled.
DG MOVE also noticed RB Rail that “there will be an immediate review of the project by the INEA with a view to INEA suspending, reducing, recovering or terminating the Lithuanian activities and funding under the current grant agreement.”
Last year, the EU earmarked 106 million euros in support for Rail Baltica’s Lithuanian projects under the Connecting Europe facility funding. Earlier this year Lithuania was earmarked additional 191 million euros.
DG MOVE and INEA are to discuss the details of the examination and decide on the funding on Monday, reported business website vz.lt.
Lithuanian Railways has been for long reluctant to sign the Rail Baltica’s common contracting scheme.
After signing the scheme, Lithuanian Railways will lose the right to participate in public tenders and implement Rail Baltica’s projects, while Latvian and Estonian companies will be eligible to participate, according to Dailydka.
Lithuania’s reluctance has caused concerns among other parties of the Rail Baltica project.
On Saturday, Latvian Transport Minister Uldis Augulis said that Lithuania’s stalling of signing the contracting scheme “can put in jeopardy the entire project”. (1 euro = 1.11 U.S. dollars)