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EU to allocate $5 million to cope with Russian border jams

RIGA, October 25 (RIA Novosti) - The European Parliament upheld Thursday a decision to allocate 3.5 million euros ($5 million) to build waiting areas and help relieve congestion on Russia's borders with Latvia, Estonia and Finland.

If the project is successful when implemented in 2009-2010, the EU will allocate further funding to modernize border checkpoints.

Earlier this month the prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania called for the EU to discuss truck congestion at border crossings at the next EU-Russia Summit, to be held in Mafra, Portugal, on October 26.

Increased trade between Russia and the EU combined with the limited traffic capacity at border posts have made such jams routine in the EU's eastern states.

The number of trucks depends on the road conditions in neighboring countries, as well as on the season. The most serious jams usually occur in August-September, as companies begin to increase their international carriage as the vacation season comes to an end.

The other main traffic jam period begins in November, when deliveries increase in the run up to Christmas and New Year.

A record queue of 2,000 trucks was registered in August 2007 on the Russian-Latvian border. While the vehicles queue at the checkpoints, Russian retailers and logistic firms are losing money. Locals are scared to drive along the roads clogged with trucks, especially in winter, and complain of exhaust fumes, human waste and litter.

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