News2020.02.06 10:30

Lithuania's EU commissioner pledges Baltic Sea cleanup plan

Erika Alonderytė, BNS 2020.02.06 10:30

The European Commission is to draft a plan for reducing pollution in the Baltic Sea, Lithuanian EU Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius has said.

The EC can propose various measures and sources of funding, but member states must themselves stop activities that pollute inland waters, according to the Lithuanian commissioner in charge of environment, oceans and fisheries.

Read more: Baltic Sea polluted with pharmaceuticals, report finds

“It will depend on [member] countries' involvement, but the Commission has to propose technical measures. Various sources of funding are available [...] such as the Fisheries Fund,” Sinkevičius told reporters on Wednesday in Brussels.

“I believe it is time to hold discussions with member states and draw up a targeted plan to reduce pollution in the Baltic Sea,” the commissioner said.

Member states could contribute by replacing activities that use nitrates and other chemicals with more environmentally-friendly practices, he added, and “reducing the pollution of inland waters and rivers”.

The commissioner plans to meet with environment and agriculture ministers from countries around the Baltic Sea in autumn, after holding informal talks with them.

Sinkevičius also plans to meet with Lithuanian Environment Minister Kęstutis Mažeika in March to discuss how the Commission could help Lithuania deal with its pollution problems.

“The Commission is not going to punish anyone, because it is a national prerogative, but I am planning to go to Klaipėda, meet with the environment minister and discuss specifically what technical assistance the Commission could offer to Lithuania,” he said.

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