News2019.07.09 12:00

Lithuanian MEPs to push Belarus’ nuclear plant issue in Brussels


One question set to unite Lithuanian delegation at the European Parliament is the Belarus nuclear plant under construction in Astravyets, 50 kilometers from Vilnius. 

MEPs say that neither the EU nor Vilnius possess legal mechanisms to force Belarus to halt the construction.

“Safe Astravyets [NPP] is our priority,” said MEP Juozas Olekas. “It will probably depend on how well we're able to negotiate with both the Belarusians, but also internally in the EU.”

According to another former defence minister and a newly elected MEP, Rasa Juknevičienės, as well as MEP Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Europe needs to hear the Lithuanian perspective on Astravyets.

“We will definitely contribute so that Europe has a clear understanding that the nuclear plant was [wrong] from its inception, and no cosmetic security adjustments can solve its problems,” said Juknevičienė.

The three Baltic states will join the European electricity network by 2025, switching from the Soviet-era BRELL infrastructure, controlled from Moscow. They have also signed an agreement in Brussels on June 20 against the buying of electricity from Belarus and Russia.

However, only Lithuania has passed a law prohibiting the country from buying electricity from third countries – ie Belarus and Russia – and neither Latvia nor Estonia have similar laws in place.

Critics, including Lithuania’s former Energy Minister Avydas Sekmokas, have previously said that “no one can separate electrons, and there will be no [legal] basis not to buy electricity from an intermediary,” whose energy would potentially be sourced from Astravyets.

However, it’s important to convince other countries not to buy from Belarus nuclear plant according to MEP Andrius Kubilius.

“It’s then a headache for Belarus to decide what to do with a power plant, as its profitability is then seriously doubted,” said Kubilius.

Security questions, according to the Lithuanian delegates, will be part of the working topics, especially after the reminders of Chernobyl legacy.

“The problem remains,” said MEP Stasys Jakeliūnas, “but I can’t imagine any easy solutions”.

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