EU seeks transport corridor to Russia via Baltics

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RIGA, February 21 (RIA Novosti, Yury Guralnik) - A new transport route between western Europe and Russia via Latvia has been included in a European Union transport program, a Latvian spokesman said Tuesday.

According to the spokesman from Latvia's transportation ministry, the EU High Level Group decided to include the Ventspils-Riga-Moscow route on the list of priority corridors within the Northern Axis program, which aims to extend a trans-European network far beyond the EU.

Inaugurated in October 2004, the commission is chaired by the former European Commission Vice President Loyola de Palacio and includes representatives from the 25 EU member states, Romania, Bulgaria and 26 other countries, including Russia.

Until recently, Russian-EU oil-transit routes included a pipeline connecting the Russian city of Polotsk and Latvia's ice-free port of Ventspils, which had a major oil terminal on the Baltic Sea. However, following the construction of a new oil terminal in the Russian town of Primorsk, Russia's oil supplies to Europe through Ventspils have all but stopped.

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