Figel discusses trains, planes and nuclear power with Putin

On his trip to Russia this week, transport minister Jan Figel has been talking with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with the main focus being on transport links and co-operation between the two countries.

Putin and Figel discussed a number of issues concerning bilateral trade and economic co-operation, but special emphasis was on the broad-gauge railway, an extension of which is planned between Kosice, Bratislava and Vienna. This strategic point would help increase the efficiency of Russian exports and imports.

The project, which on the Russian side would involve state railways RZD, would also necessitate the establishment of large logistics terminals in Slovakia and Austria. Both Figel and Putin underlined the importance of the project in terms of generating jobs, increasing tax revenues and stimulating the development of industry and infrastructure.

Figel also acknowledged that it would be good to restore direct flights between the capitals of Bratislava and Moscow, which he does not see as a problem.  saying he considers this possibility very realistic.

“The figures prove that the project is technically and legally feasible, but the economic and financial aspects are complicated”, said Figel about a four-country analysis of the project involving Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Austria.

The issue of nuclear power was also mentioned at the meeting, with Russia hoping to boost investments in this area as part of projects that are already underway.

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