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Tight deadlines pose biggest risks to railroad electrification and Skanste tram line projects - Finance Ministry

RIGA - The main risks to the electrification of Latvijas Dzelzcels railroads and construction of Skanste tram line by Rigas Satiksme public transport company are these projects' tight deadlines, Diana Rancane, head of the Finance Ministry's Department for Supervision of European Union Funds, told Saeima European Affairs Committee on Friday.

Saeima European Affairs Committee's meeting on Friday was held to hear the Finance Ministry's report assessing the absorption of EU funds in Latvia in 2014-2020.

There are five major projects being implemented in Latvia - development of infrastructure at Krievu Island in Riga to move port activities from central Riga to the island, electrification of railroads, construction of new wing to Pauls Stradins University Hospital, development of tram infrastructure in Riga, and liquidation of acid waste ponds at Incukalns.

A large project is an environmental project that costs more than EUR 50 million or a transport project that costs more than EUR 75 million. The total EU co-financing for such projects implemented in Latvia is EUR 492.6 million.

According to Rancane, the main risks faced by the project at Krievu Island, railroad electrification and tram infrastructure development in Riga were the project's tight deadlines.

For instance, if Latvia fails to convince the European Commission that the project of moving port activities to Krievu Island in Riga is completed on March 31, Latvia and the Freeport of Riga will lose EU co-financing of EUR 75.8 million, said Rancane.

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