Latvia, Estonia put their interests ahead as regards faster Baltic synchronization - expert

  • 2023-07-20
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Latvia's and Estonia's doubts about joint withdrawal from the Russian-controlled energy system (BRELL) agreement with Lithuania are a case of putting national interests ahead of regional projects, energy expert and ex-energy minister Arvydas Sekmokas has said.

"We can see that national interests far outweigh regional interests and, in my opinion, it is exactly the same in the synchronization project," he told the LRT Radio.

On Wednesday, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda invited his Latvian counterpart to speed up the synchronization of the country's electricity grid with that of continental Europe but Edgars Rinkevics said that it was necessary to find the most economically and technically advantageous way for each country.

Sekmokas described Latvia's position as a diplomatic maneuver, showing its unwillingness to find a common solution for the Baltic countries and to join Estonia, which hopes to synchronize with the Scandinavian countries.

“Apparently, this position is purely a diplomatic maneuver because, in principle, if we withdraw from the BRELL agreement, it is not necessary to switch off the power lines with Belarus at the beginning of 2024, but it is possible to switch them off in the summer or even in the fall of 2024, and at the same time, without having to wait for 2025. This is Latvia's position – it does not seem to be inclined to look for that common consensus, but rather to support Estonia and to take a position that is not in favor of regional projects," Sekmokas said.

"Estonia may have hopes to synchronize with Scandinavia via Finland and is not willing to accept synchronization in 2024, it wants to postpone it to 2025 and possibly beyond," he added.

Lithuania aims to disconnect from the common electricity system including the Baltic States, Russia and Belarus before December 2025. The country would like to do so in February 2024 and synchronize power grids with those of Continental Europe. Meanwhile, Latvia and Estonia intend to meet the end deadline.

Signed in February 2001, the BRELL agreement defines how the Baltic states, Russia and Belarus operate within the IPS/UPS system, or the so-called BRELL ring, in which Moscow regulates electricity frequency.