Baltic and Finnish organisations call for enhanced cooperation to phase-out fossil fuels in the region

  • 2022-05-25

Today, 49 civil society organisations and networks of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland have signed a joint letter [1] calling their leaders to foster regional cooperation to achieve independence from Russian fossil fuels and eventually, all fossil fuels. The letter contains several recommendations for heads of governments to consider ahead of the European Council [2] next week.

The three Baltic countries and Finland have shown remarkable cooperation in foreign policy and security matters since the start of the war in Ukraine. Regrettably similar regional coordination is lacking when it comes to planning the next steps to move away from Russian fossil fuels. The individual countries are overly focused on solely diversifying gas supplies to increase the resilience of our energy systems, while we should be joining forces to accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels in the region.

“Implementation of the European Green Deal needs to be accelerated as it positively contributes to all three angles of the classic energy trilemma: improving energy security as well as aiding Ukraine, mitigating the impact of volatile fossil fuel prices as well as contributing to climate change efforts. Given that the gas market in the Baltic states and Finland is regional, any decarbonization efforts need to be carefully coordinated as well. The joint letter provides an array of ways to do so, such as delivering a regional assessment on the possibilities of gas sector decarbonization before building any permanent fossil gas infrastructure. Another concrete demand by the signatories is to support increasing the ambition of various files dealing with energy in the Fit for 55 package, as also put forward by the European Commission in their RePowerEU plan last week,” explains the climate policy officer of Estonian Fund for Nature Johanna Maarja Tiik how regional cooperation could be enhanced in energy matters.

“The four governments have so far focused almost exclusively on the diversification of gas sources, while they should be making much-needed structural changes in the energy system to help reduce dependency on fossil fuels. For example, instead of creating new permanent LNG capacity in the region that shares a joint gas market, the countries should be heavily investing in decarbonising heating and industry, particularly in the face of a worsening climate crisis,” says Johanna Kuld, gas and energy policy campaigner of Estonian Green Movement.

Domantas Tracevičius, founder of Lithuanian NGO Circular Economy states: "We are at a turning point in history. Renewable energy from wind and solar can help us to become climate neutral and provide us with much needed energy independence".

The letter comes ahead of the European Council on 30-31 May. The Baltic-Finnish joint letter urges the heads of governments gathering to the Council to consider the recommendations outlined in the letter while planning the next steps to make the region of the Baltic states and Finland independent from Russian fossil fuels and fossil fuels in general, as well as the RePowerEU package and the ongoing implementation of the European Green Deal.