French Trade Minister Riester: “Rail Baltica is an asset for the region’s future”

Posted: 23 May 2024 | | No comments yet

The French-Latvian Business Forum, held in Riga, brought together business representatives and policymakers from the Transport, Defense, and Renewable Energy sectors. This event, organized by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) in partnership with the Embassy of France in Latvia and the French Foreign Trade Advisors of the Baltic States (CCEF), provided a platform for strategic networking, discussions, and the exploration of business opportunities, with a special focus on the Rail Baltica project.


The forum aimed to foster cooperation and investment in the Baltic region, highlighting the progress and prospects of the Rail Baltica project, Latvia’s defense industry initiatives, and renewable energy strategies. The discussions emphasized the critical role of robust infrastructure in enhancing economic attractiveness, creating jobs, attracting tourism and business, and fostering regional vibrancy.

Latvia’s Foreign Minister Baiba Braže emphasized the importance of France as an economic partner, noting the strategic partnership’s development both bilaterally and within the frameworks of the European Union and NATO. She highlighted potential growth areas including ICT, infrastructure, defense, green energy, and AI. “Strengthening cooperation in these strategically important areas is a long-term investment in the security and resilience of our societies – at home, in the EU and more broadly.”Forum2

France’s Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness, Francophonie, and French Nationals Abroad, Franck Riester underscored the need to bolster Europe’s economic sovereignty and highlighted France’s success in attracting foreign investment, largely thanks to its robust infrastructure. France has ranked as the most attractive European country for foreign investors for the fifth consecutive year. He praised the Rail Baltica project as a significant asset for the region’s future, noting its substantial contribution to the region’s economic attractiveness.

The forum featured panels on various aspects of the Rail Baltica project. The first panel, inaugurated by Latvia’s Minister of Transport, Kaspars Briškens, included key figures such as Emilien Dang of RB Rail AS, Anvar Salomets from Rail Baltic Estonia, Ēriks Diļevs from Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas, and Justas Vyžintas from LTG Infra. Minister Briškens highlighted French expertise in Rail Baltica with significant contracts involving French companies worth over €3.77 billion. He emphasized the project’s comprehensive nature in connecting ports, airports, cities, and enhancing regional security.Forum 3

The second panel, featuring Thierry Boussillon of RB Rail AS and representatives from French companies, tackled challenges anticipated in 2024 and beyond. Discussions included station and infrastructure management, financing, and procurement strategies. The panel was moderated by David Boulet from CCEF and included contributions from Benoit Dupuis of Societe Des Grands Projets, Fabrice Morenon of SNCF Hubs and Connexions, and Alain Baruc of Eiffage – PV ERB.

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