The Tallinn-Helsinki link offers Europe more geopolitical advantages than risks.
An ambitious project to build the longest undersea rail tunnel in the world between Helsinki and Tallinn is being held up by the Estonian government over worries about the plan and where the money is coming from. It should let the life-changing link go ahead, even if its Chinese funding looks suspicious.
The project’s developer, Finest Bay Area Development Oy, was co-founded by Peter “Mighty Eagle” Vesterbacka, one of the principal creators of the Angry Birds computer game. Last month, it announced that it had arranged the funding for the 103-kilometer tunnel from Touchstone Capital Partners, a financial firm that invests the resources of state-owned Chinese enterprises, to the tune of $17 billion. The money is to go to three Chinese companies that have signed on to design and build the tunnel as part of their country’s Belt and Road Initiative. That’s what bothers the Estonian government: The Chinese initiative is unpopular with the European Union, and Estonia, ever the good European, wants to make sure it’s not going to get in trouble.