Lithuanian president: better to withdraw from BRELL together with other Baltic countries

  • 2023-07-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – President Gitanas Nauseda says it would be better for Lithuania to withdraw from the Russian-controlled energy system (BRELL) agreement together with Latvia and Estonia, but Vilnius will make a final decision on its stance at a meeting of the State Defense Council.

"Withdrawal is possible as early as in the beginning of next year, but I also acknowledge that it would be better to withdraw together and in this case to stick to a common position," Nauseda told reporters in Vilnius on Wednesday after a meeting with Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics.

"If I understand correctly, Latvia's position is to postpone this withdrawal by one year and to do that at the beginning of 2025," the Lithuanian leader added.

He also stressed that this issue would dominate the next meeting of the State Defense Council: "We will take a decision after assessing all the technical, security and political aspects and, without any doubt, it will be announced."

Nauseda also said that he had invited his Latvian counterpart to speed up the synchronization of the country's electricity grid with that of continental Europe.

"I invited the president to accelerate the synchronization with continental European networks. Complete disconnection from the Russian and Belarusian electricity grids is an important task we share and we need to implement it as soon as possible," he noted.

For his part, Rinkevics said that Latvia had made it clear that it “is willing to withdraw from the BRELL agreement as soon as possible”, but it was necessary to find the most economically and technically advantageous way for each country.

“There is a very clear political commitment... However, we also need to take into account that this affects all three Baltic States, affects in a different manner – both from the technical point of view and financial point of view,” the Latvian leader noted.

“Our position would be that we need to find such a way that is less economically harmful and less technically problematic for each and every Baltic State – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,” he added.

Rinkevics said he had agreed to continue discussions on faster disconnection from BRELL and synchronization with the Western European electricity grids, but stressed that it had to be a balanced and coordinated decision.

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 the Baltic power grids with continental Europe's power grid. 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.