BOYS IN A SANDBOX
The "debate" between Latvia and Lithuania over which country should play host to an energy link with Sweden seems to finally be on the verge of coming to an end.
There hasn't really been very much debate on the topic. The two sides are so stubborn and entrenched in their own arguments that they fail to see the silliness of the whole charade.
The Swedish Ambassador to Lithuania, Malin Karre, summed it up nicely when she said last year the two countries had been "pushing and competing with each other like boys in a sandbox." At the time, she said they now seemed to be working toward a solution. Yet no positive news has yet been heard out of the debate.
It is unclear why both the Latvian and Lithuanian sides seem unable to comprehend the idiocy of their argument. Which country the power link connects to is irrelevant once a common market is established. But instead of uniting under a shared goal 's a common energy market 's the two Baltic neighbors have devoted their time to petty bickering,
The two countries seem to have dug into their sandboxes. Both sides have spent time and money drawing up their own proposals, only one of which could ever come to fruition.
The argument even reached the point where the Lithuanian side, like some third world dictator, unilaterally announced that they had come to an agreement with both their northern neighbor and the EU on the energy link. The news came as a surprise to Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis, who said that he had never agreed to any such plan.
Lithuania is understandably panicking about the situation it will face once its nuclear power plant closes. Though the country has a power link with Poland, the Lithuanian prime minister has said this will not help the situation much. Latvia's alternative energy prospects are even grimmer.
Now the debate finally seems to be coming to a close. Once the EU pledged to help support the project, the two sides agreed to agree. To continue with the sandbox metaphor, once the teacher started waving carrots and sticks at them they decided to behave.
It is ridiculous that it took so long for the two sides to agree to seriously talk to each other about the issue. This sort of bickering, combined with a healthy dose of unrealistic expectations, is exactly what put the two countries in their current energy situation in the first place. Yet they persist.
Maybe now there will finally be some kind of agreement on the issue, but knowing these politicians it is far from a safe bet.