Swedish power link battle rages on

  • 2008-10-22
  • TBT Staff in cooperation with BNS

Negotiations between Latvia and Lithuania over which country should host a power link spanning the Baltic Sea have come to a standstill.

VILNIUS/RIGA 's The longstanding dispute between Latviaand Lithuaniaover which country should play host to a new Baltic power link with Swedenhas deepened, with both countries announcing that they are ready to begin construction.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas told reporterson Wednesday that he would enter talks with his Swedish counterpart and confirmthat the country was ready to begin construction of the project.

"We have convinced the European Commission that we canlaunch the project. The Commission is interested in a fast-track launch of theproject, it [the Commission] should approve it, and Swedenunderstands that," the prime minister said.

Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis, meanwhile, toldLatvian public radio on Wednesday that the country was ready to beginconstruction of the power link as soon as 2010.

He said that the plan of action to be performed in the nearest future inorder to commence the construction is clear.

Godmanis said that last week during the meeting of the leaders of the Baltic states with the representatives of Swedenand the European Commission the parties agreed on a precise plan of organizingthe Baltic link plan with Sweden.

Kirkilas said, however, that Latvia was not ready to implement the project, andwas not as far along in their planning as Lithuania. He said that the Latvian side "couldnot initiate it tomorrow, since they would have to conduct commercial andtechnical studies and secure financing."

Lithuania'snational energy company Leo LT hopes to build the link by 2016. The company'sinvestments into the project are seen reaching some 1.1 billion litas (318.84million euros). Leo LT claims to be able to implement the project without outersupport.