Poettering calls on Lithuania to meet EU energy commitments

EU

European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering on Thursday urged Lithuania to meet its energy commitments to the European Union.

“Every country has to meet commitments. Lithuania has assumed the obligation of decommissioning the Ignalina nuclear power plant. You know, that Lithuania can expect support from other EU countries,” Pottering said in his speech to the Lithuanian parliament, the Seimas.

Lithuania and its Baltic neighbors, Latvia and Estonia, have been wrestling over the future of their energy supplies in anticipation of electrical shortages when the Ignalina plant in Lithuania shuts down in 2009 as demanded by the European Union. On his two-day visit to the Baltic nation, Poettering called Lithuania’s dependence on Russia for energy a problem for the continent as the rest of Europe also faces dependence on Russia for energy. “We can say to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia that you are not alone,” Poettering was quoted as saying by the Baltic News Service. Mostly isolated from the EU’s energy networks, the Baltic countries would have to look to Russia as their main energy supplier amidst fears the Kremlin may use its economic foothold in the former Soviet republics for political gain.

The Baltics already have the electrical infrastructure with Russia in place, a remnant of the former Soviet Union system. Building new links to Poland and Sweden is expensive and time-consuming. The EU will urge Russia to approve the European Energy Charter and make every effort to form a character of relations that would be beneficial to both sides, Poettering said. Poettering came to Lithuania to urge lawmakers to ratify the Lisbon Treaty currently under consideration in the Lithuanian parliament. Poettering will also meet with Belarusian students in exile at the European Humanities’ University as well as the Polish minority in Lithuania. (m&c.com)

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