The Ministers of Energy Discussed the Paramount Issues of Sector Transformation

Date

2019 06 25

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25 June, Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas attended the meeting of the EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (hereinafter referred to as the Council) to discuss the changes in the energy sector in the nearest future. The European Commission's (EC) recommendations on the Integrated national energy and climate change plans were introduced to the Council.

The Council approved the set of conclusions on further energy transformation initiated by presiding Romania 'Future of the Energy Systems in the Energy Union towards clean energy and achievement of goals of energy and climate change until 2030 and afterwards'.

They define the key guidelines aimed at ensuring the energy transition towards an affordable, safe, competitive and sustainable energy system to contribute to achievement of the energy and climate change goals set till 2030 and later. The Ministers discussed the key determinants of the changes – trends of the energy infrastructure development and modernisation, innovative solutions and latest technologies, energy system digitalisation and integration of individual sectors.

Minister Vaičiūnas was pleased to see the Lithuanian proposals reflecting the key changes in the national energy sector taken into consideration in the Council's conclusions. In recent years, Lithuania has been increasingly emphasising the integration of the energy systems of the EU Member States, the central project of which today is the synchronisation of the Baltic energy systems with continental Europe's networks.

'I am happy to see Lithuania setting energy transformation trends today. We have good practice in integrating energy markets and diversifying energy supply sources. Lithuania moving ahead in creating favourable opportunities for energy consumers to become active energy participants and to generate electricity, instead of consuming only, is no less important achievement', said the Minister of Energy.

Another important issue discussed at the meeting of the Council of Energy Ministers was external energy policy of the EU. Minister Vaičiūnas introduced the position of Lithuania to sustain strengthening of the energy security in the region as the fundamental priority. All cooperation formats must be employed to achieve this goal, including cooperation between the EU and US energy council, the Three Seas Initiative and the Partnership for Transatlantic energy cooperation. 

'Any cooperation with third countries should be assessed, first of all, regarding the transition to clean energy policy, while related measures must become an integral part of such relations. Besides, complying with the international commitments in nuclear safety must be insisted in the relations with third countries', said the Minister of Energy. 

The Minister mentioned the highly popular drama about Chernobyl disaster, which was filmed in Ignalina NPP. The Minister emphasised that observation of top nuclear safety standards must be ensured in the EU and its neighbourhood to protect our citizens from the threat of such disasters and to see scenarios like this in films only.

The EC introduced its recommendations to the Council regarding the Integrated national energy and climate change plans, in which the EU Member States must set their national priorities, modes and scope of their planned contributions to the achievement of the goals set in the EU energy and climate change policy. The Member States must submit their plans to the EC by 31 December 2019.

The presidency of the Council will be taken over by Finland from the 1st of July, which introduced its energy priorities.

During the visit to Brussels, Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas met European Commission's member Miguel Arias Cañete, responsible for energy and climate change. During the meeting, they discussed the implementation and progress of the strategic energy security project - the synchronisation of the Baltic electricity systems with the European networks. 

Last week, the EC, Baltic States and Poland signed the political Roadmap securing implementation of the synchronisation project setting the fundamental infrastructure projects and specific action plan till 2025, when the Baltic States will join the safe and reliable European energy system.

At the meeting, the Minister of Energy raised the issue of Astravyets NPP and urged the EC to take specific actions to ensure Belarus implements the recommendations given during the stress tests a year ago. Mr. Cañete informed the Minister of Energy about the reply to be given by the EC in the nearest future to the joint address made by the Ministers of Energy and of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania to the EC in May regarding Astravyets NPP and promised to exert further efforts to ensure Belarus presents a national action plan of elimination of the defects established during the stress tests and implementation recommendations. The Commissioner emphasised that the plan must be submitted to the experts of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (the ENSREG) for assessment.