Sand fighting

  • 2009-02-18
Latvia and Lithuania could indeed be compared to boys in a sandbox, squabbling over the spade and shovel (TBT Feb. 12-18).

These two Baltic neighbours seem to be doing a good job of digging their own hole…or is that grave?
A sustainable, reliable energy source is of vital importance to the region in terms of the creation of a joint market.

There is an obvious sense of urgency to the energy issues facing the Baltic region.
The Baltics remain an "energy island", cut off from the markets of Western Europe.
The upcoming closure of the Ignalina power plant in Lithuania at the end of the year also raises questions about ongoing energy supply and dependence.
Despite all this, the Baltic energy link project remains nothing more than pipedream, bogged down in petty squabbling.

Although it has been widely acknowledged that the location of the cable connecting to Sweden is of little importance to the outcome of the overall project, the delays and frustrations continue.
Sweden has been quietly encouraging the two countries to sort out their differences and get on with the job for quite some time now.

But, instead of focusing on the project's implementation, the two countries seem content to fight it out over who gets what, rather then the real issues at hand.
If only as much energy went into actual energy reform and security as has been poured into this pointless diplomatic spat.

We have now been promised some compromise on the issue, although both governments seem unsure of when that will be.
Lithuania and Latvia should both get out of the sandbox and start the meaningful process of developing an integrated energy market.
Otherwise it won't be just an economic crisis we're faced with.

Didzis Grasmane, Riga


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