Rail transport and Cohesion Fund. The Commission approves new investments in Latvia and Lithuania

On 21 April 2022, the Commission approved two investments from the Cohesion Fund to improve passenger transport by train in Latvia and Lithuania.

Originally set up in 1994 for the purpose of strengthening the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the European Union in the interests of promoting sustainable development, the Cohesion Fund provides support to Member States with a gross national income (GNI) per capita below 90% EU-27 average. More particularly, for the 2021-2027 period the Fund will, on the one hand, continue supporting projects under the “Investment for growth and jobs” goal and, on the other hand, support two specific objectives of the new cohesion policy, that is i) a greener, low-carbon and circular economy, and ii) a more connected Europe.

The investment in Latvia has a budget of more than €114 million, and consists in the purchase of 23 electric multiple unit passenger trains for railways in the Riga and Pieriga region, which will replace a part of the outdated rolling stock thereby enhancing the attractiveness of the railways as well as the annual number of journeys undertaken using environmentally friendly transport means. 

Similarly, with a budget of more than €158 million, the investment in Lithuania will contribute to the electrification of the railway section between Kaišiadorys and Klaipėda, thereby reducing environmental pollution and contributing to a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy in rail transport. The electrification of railway lines, indeed, is a priority of the trans-European networks (TENT-T) development guidelines to increase the efficiency of the European railway system.

Marco Stillo