Threats to the region’s energy security caused by Russia discussed with Nordic lawmakers

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2017 08 24

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The situation of energy security in the Baltic Sea region was discussed at the meeting between Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas and members of Nordic parliaments. The meeting mainly focused on the threats caused by unsafe Astravets Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which is being built in Belarus, and the Nord Stream 2 project implemented by Russia.

The Minister noted that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, planned to be laid at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, basically contradicts the goals of the European Union (EU) energy policy. If the project is implemented, it will weaken rather than strengthen EU energy security and increase dependence on Russia.

Lithuania seeks substantial evaluation of the necessity of another gas pipeline from Russia to Europe. Furthermore, Lithuania considers that Russia’s obligations to retain gas transit through Ukraine must be explicitly set out. 

“We cannot close our eyes before Russia’s attempts to consolidate its geopolitical influence through energy projects such as Astravets NPP or the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Lithuania has experienced what it means to be Russia’s hostage over energy means, and thus we want to warn the entire region,” said Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas. 

The Minister told Nordic lawmakers about the threats of Astravets NPP, built with Russia’s money and technology, not only to Lithuania, but also to the entire region. The threats caused by Astravets NPP are related not only to non-compliance with the international nuclear safety and environmental requirements, but also to the incidents that often occur during its construction. It was also noted that after this cheap and “unsafe” electricity generated in Astravets NPP gets into the EU, it would have a competitive advantage in respect of “safe” electricity produced in the EU. Therefore, Lithuania aims to bring together the countries of the region in order to guarantee that competitive conditions are not distorted. 

Parliamentarians were also acquainted with the LNG Terminal, successfully operating in Klaipėda. According to the Minister, the terminal which put an end to Lithuania’s energy isolation and forced Gazprom to operate under market conditions rather than dictate prices will provide new opportunities to the entire Baltic Sea region. After the regional gas market is created, a bigger number of states in the region will be able to take advantage of opportunities offered by the dynamic and flexible LNG market.  

The project of strengthening Baltic energy security – disconnecting from Russia operated power system and connecting to the grids of continental Europe – was also discussed at the meeting. Baltic states are the only EU states that so far belong to the Eastern, not Western, power system controlled by Russia. Lithuania seeks to implement the project of synchronisation with Europe as soon as possible, i.e. by 2025, without endangering energy security of the Baltic states.