Lithuanian president asks EC to help to agree with Latvia on Astravyets boycott

  • 2020-06-29
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has turned to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and asked her to act as an intermediary as the Baltic states are seeking agreement on a boycott of electricity produced at the Astravyets nuclear power plant in Belarus.

"In this case, we are working, trying not to show off too much, and I am trying to get [the European Commission] involved and we have already agreed with the EC president that she should become a certain moderator for this whole process as our bilateral relations have not led to the result we hoped for," Nauseda said in an interview with the Lietuvos Rytas TV's 24/7.

In his words, a draft of the future agreement is now being prepared.

"We just need to present the text that could be considered by all sides, evaluated by the EC, and then we would see whether we have an agreement or not," the Lithuanian president said.

He says there are more chances of resolving the issue after raising it at the EU level.

"I am calling on all people of good will to support us on this path and hope that we will manage to change Latvia's position and we will be able to find common agreement between Poland and the Baltic states for all those countries not to buy electricity produced by unsafe power plants outside the EU," Nauseda said.

The Lithuanian president did not go to the traditional meeting of the Baltic leaders last Thursday as the countries have so far failed to reach a trilateral agreement on the updated methodology for power trade with third countries.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are now holding talks on power trade with third countries but as Latvia objects, the three countries have not managed so far to agree on boycotting electricity produced in Astravyets.

As Lithuania is trying to convince Latvia and Estonia, internal discussions are also taking in Lithuania on the draft agreement of the three Baltic states. Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says the country needs to present its clear interests and defend them at the European Commission. And President Nauseda has called on the foreign and energy minister to coordinate their positions for Lithuanian to be "as one fist".

Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas proposed to the government to sign an agreement that would not commit Latvia and Estonia not to buy electricity from Astravyets but the two countries would support Lithuania's aspirations. But Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius later called for holding talks on all three Baltic states not buying electricity from Astravyets.

Vaiciunas says his proposed agreement would foresee a guarantee of origin system and imports taxes but it would not commit Latvia not to buy Belarusian electricity. In his words, such an agreement would allow implementing the so-called "anti-Astryavets" law in Lithuania.

Lithuania is the biggest critic of the Astravyets NPP and is ready to boycott the entry for power produced there into the market. Minsk rejects Vilnius' criticism that the nuclear facility is unsafe.