Adamkus calls for common energy policy

  • 2006-05-10
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Speaking at last week's forum, President Valdas Adamkus urged the European Union to agree on a common European energy policy. "Energy will be the key issue for tomorrow's Europe," he told a press conference.

"A current example of what is happening - the individual agreement among EU members without consultation with the entire European family 's is in total disregard of other EU members. It is unacceptable. I am talking about the pipeline under the Baltic Sea," Adamkus said in reference to the $5 billion German-Russian deal under the Baltic Sea that will bypass the Baltic states and Poland. In an interview with The Financial Times last week, Adamkus condemned Germany for concluding the deal behind the backs of its EU partners. He also said he did not want to use the word "blackmail" to refer to Moscow's attempt to expand its influence through energy policy, though he made it clear he was very concerned about Russian economic and political pressure.

The words contrasted with those of Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, who said Lithuania should refrain from criticizing the Baltic Sea underwater pipeline that runs from Russia to Germany, and that he was skeptical about the country's prospects for participating in the project. "This is a fait accompli, and waving one's arms would hardly change anything," he said. Brazauskas, who is planning to visit Germany this week, said he would raise the pipeline debate. Speaking during a natural gas conference that took place in Vilnius on May 8, Brazauskas was doubtful that Lithuania could take part in building the underwater pipeline, saying that the country didn't have the funds.

"These are engineering and technical matters. The joining would cost billions, and - whether it is purposeful or not 's has to be given serious consideration, not just statements," he said on May 9. In recent weeks there have been numerous hints that the Baltic states could join in the North European Gas Pipeline Project, which was finalized last year by Russian President Vladimir Putin and former German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder. Citing unnamed sources, the daily Lietuvos Zinios reported last week that Russia and Germany have proposed that Baltic countries take part in the underwater pipeline project as "junior partners," which means that they would have to build, at their own expense, a branch pipeline to connect to the main pipeline. According to the anonymous sources, the proposal has been made to all three Baltic prime ministers. Economy Minister Kestutis Dauksys said last week that he did not know if the country had been invited to participate in the project.