VILNIUS - Lithuanian Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas expects the European Commission (EC) to adopt political decisions on Belarus' Astravyets nuclear power plant, saying the EU's involvement at the technical level is no longer sufficient.
"As we hear Belarus' statements about plans to launch the Astravyets NPP in the coming months and know that the European stress test requirements have not been fulfilled yet, it is obvious that the EU's involvement at the technical level is no longer sufficient," Vaiciunas said in a press release after EU energy ministers' video conference on Monday.
"We are waiting for the EC's active political decisions and leadership in dealing with the problem and threat that affects millions of EU citizens," he added.
Vaiciunas maintains that a joint visit by the EC and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) to Belarus and the EC's subsequent statement to Belarus has so far produced no results, because there are still no guarantees that the nuclear safety requirements will be implemented before the plant comes online and that a permanent monitoring will be put in place, according to the press release.
The Lithuanian minister says that a clear political signal that Belarus' failure to meet the requirements "will have implications for the EU-Belarusian issues" must be sent to Minsk.
"On the other hand, if the EC and the EU fail to take decisive action, the EU risks opening the Pandora's box with its own hands: in the future, any country next to the EU borders will be able to build a nuclear power plant and will have the right to ignore nuclear safety," Vaiciunas said in the press release.
"This is a dangerous precedent that must be prevented," he added.