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Tuija Telén: Finland more strongly into continental Europe with Tallinn Tunnel

Tuija Telén

With a location in the northern periphery of the European Union, Finland needs more well-functioning routes both to the south and to the west. A planned tunnel from Helsinki to Tallinn has by now earned its position as a truly considerable solution for the future.

With the changed operating environment and the geopolitical challenges, an improved accessibility and the security of supply chains call for a stronger connection to the rest of Europe. The sea route will not just be enough anymore.

As a matter of fact, the Helsinki–Tallinn tunnel would be significant for the whole continent. It would be an extension of the Rail Baltica rail connection under construction, which will eventually bring high-speed tracks to Finland from Berlin via Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. For us, it would be a direct link to the European rail network and would significantly speed up the transportation of goods and passengers to continental Europe, while also preserving the environment.

The groundwork itself has been carried out both in zoning and as surveys. The Tunnel connection is marked in the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Land Use Plan and in the master plans of both cities Helsinki and Vantaa. Reservations from the tunnel to other parts of our country have also been included in the plans.

With EU support, an extensive study has been carried out on the possibilities of implementing the tunnel in cooperation between the States of Finland and Estonia, as well as between their capitals and regions. To speed up the tunnel a cooperation agreement has been signed between the region Helsinki-Uusimaa and the Harju area surrounding Tallinn.

The EU is, however, the key word for any further actions. The European Commission has recently approved this tunnel as a future study site, as part of the European transport corridors. The inclusion in the TEN-T Regulation has been awaited, as the decision gives the green light to the possibilities of EU funding.

At the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, we have already rolled up our sleeves and influenced EU decision-making bodies to initiate more detailed planning of the tunnel. The importance of this work will increase in the future, as in cooperation with new EU decision-makers.

It is really important that we all vote in the upcoming European elections, because decisions that are important for the future of our region are actually being made in Brussels.

Tuija Telén

The writer is the Regional Mayor of Helsinki-Uusimaa.


tuija.telen@uudenmaanliitto.fi, phone +358 40 801 6009