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Baltic energy projects do not depend on Poland – Lithuanian President

The construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania does not depend on Poland’s participation, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus said in Riga Tuesday.

“That project isn’t waiting for Poland to make up their minds,” Adamkus said about the construction of a new Ignalina nuclear power plant. “The three Baltic states are going ahead with this project,” Adamkus said, confirming Baltic European Union members, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, were keen to pursue the project. The presidents of the Baltic three met in Riga to discuss energy issues. However Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who was expected to participate, cancelled the trip to Lithuania and Latvia this week as his country was trying to form a new government after the snap parliamentary elections. “We agreed that we could not stop and wait. Poland will not be the one to hold us back from the project,” Latvian President Valdis Zatlers told journalists in Riga after the morning meeting.

The three EU countries hope to link up their electric grids to Poland’s and construct a new Ignalina Power Plant in Lithuania to offset the region’s dependence on Russian energy sources. Known as a “power bridge,” the 300-million-euro link serves as the crucial part of a project to build the new Ignalina nuclear power plant. Adamkus reiterated that Poland had committed itself to these projects, however the signing of the “power bridge” deal had been postponed for technical reasons during the Vilnius energy conference earlier this month.

Poland’s Kaczynski has not been seen or heard from in public for nine days. His silence comes in the wake of the defeat of his twin brother Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Poland’s October 21 snap parliamentary election, in which his conservative-nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party lost to Donald Tusk’s winning Civic Platform (PO) liberals by a wide margin. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland are planning to build a 3,200 to 3,400-megawatt-capacity nuclear power plant near Ignalina in north-eastern Lithuania. The three Baltic EU countries share only one link with the bloc’s energy market through a cable between Estonia and Finland on the bottom of the Gulf of Finland. Lithuania must shut down Ignalina at the end of 2009 as part of an agreement with the EU. (m&c.com)