Planning work is to start for a railway tunnel beneath the Gulf of Finland linking Helsinki and the Estonian capital Tallinn. The mayors of Helsinki and Tallinn, Jussi Pajunen and Edgar Savisaar signed a letter of intent on a rail tunnel project on Friday. The two agreed that in May both cities will apply for EU funding for preliminary studies of the scheme. Costs of an initial study are estimated at 500,000 to 800,000 euros. Each city itself will provide 100,000 euros. A working group made up of deputy mayors and specialists is being established that will hold its first meeting in Helsinki at the start of April. Pajunen: Depends on EU funding Helsinki's Mayor Jussi Pajunen was not ready on Friday to speculate on a timetable for a rail tunnel construction project. However, he did tell YLE that in such cases initial studies usually take about a year to complete. He said that he expects that a report will be finished no later than at the end of next year. Pajunen added that a lot depends on how the EU responds to the application for funding. YLE, BNS
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The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL), the Trade Union Pro and the Industrial Union will all organise walkouts next Thursday.