VILNIUS – Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte hopes Russia's economic blackmail of the West by suspending gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria will push the European Union to give up from Russian oil and gas faster.
She also points out that Lithuania, which no longer buys Russian gas, will not be directly affected by Russia's actions.
"I would like to believe it. All the more so, there are countries like Lithuania that can do this quite easily because we have been getting ready for this in the gas sector for a long time and we have alternatives. And our oil company (Orlen Lietuva - BNS) has also been gearing up for such a step for a long time and is perfectly capable of taking it," Simonyte said in an interview with the Verslo Zinios business daily.
"Unfortunately, not in all cases in Europe they can be made so quickly. But it is quite possible that Russia will provoke countries to make those decisions very quickly. And then the matter will simply be closed", she added.
The European Commission has long been interested in Lithuania's experience in this area, Simonyte said.
"Let me remind you that the gas supply alternative had to do with strong political will that we have to do everything to reduce our dependence on Russia. Then it was more of a question of price blackmail, now it is a pure question of supply," the prime minister said, adding that Lithuania, which has recently completely suspended imports of Russian gas, would not be directly affected by Russia's actions.
"Indirect effect is possible. As more and more countries will give up Russian gas, competition in the LNG market will increase. But I would see that as a risk, which is coming sooner or later anyway, that Europe needs to take if it wants to disconnect from this unreliable supplier," the Lithuanian prime minister said.
Moreover, Simonyte believes there's "every chance" to step up the ongoing synchronization of the Baltic grids with Western Europe.
"Lithuania has always been the biggest enthusiast in the synchronization process in the past, while our Latvian and Estonian colleagues have been a bit worried about various technical issues. But after the Russian invasion in February, we very quickly agreed to reduce the power capacity with Kaliningrad and Russia to basically the technically necessary level," the prime minister told the Verslo Zinios.
Decisions still need to be taken to make the system stable on its own, such as testing the system's operation separately from the Russian energy system, completing the battery project and doing some other work.