Trakai, Lithuania – The Prime Ministers of the Baltic States, meeting in Trakai, Lithuania, today expressed support for their national energy companies concerning the preparations for construction of a new nuclear power plant at Ignalina.
Today’s joint statement, made by Andrus Ansip, Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis and Lithuanian Head of Government Algirdas Brazauskas, is aimed at preparing a common energy strategy for the Baltic States. The jointly drafted document must regard the Baltic energy market as a whole and offer solutions for overcoming the power deficit that the Baltic region will face over the years to come.
The Heads of Government expressed their support for the initiative of their national energy companies to jointly construct a new nuclear power station at Ignalina for meeting the power needs of all three countries. It was agreed that the new nuclear project would be managed on an equal bases by Eesti Energia, Latvenergo and Lietuvos energija. If it is necessary to involve any other parties or investors in the project, all of the relevant decisions will be reached by consensus.
The joint statement issued by the Prime Ministers emphasises the need to support all initiatives that render the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian energy markets more homogenous. According to the Heads of Government, it is also very important to establish various energy associations with the other European Union member states to ensure better security of supply and reduce dependence on Russian energy carriers.
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said that Estonia would consider all options for ensuring a better supply of power to the state. “By 2009, Lithuania must close down the last power block of the Ignalina nuclear power station, and this will affect power supply to the entire Baltic region. At the same time, Estonia has to decide in the coming years what to do after the old boilers of the Narva power stations are shut down.
As of today, 95% of Estonia’s power output is related to CO2 emission. Taking into account the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol on climate and the increasingly severe environmental conditions, our goal should be to produce at least one-fourth of our electricity free of CO2. A common nuclear power station for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is one of the most feasible options for achieving this,” said Prime Minister Ansip.
The discussion to be held between the Prime Ministers today will create preconditions for Estonia’s participation in the project concerning the new nuclear power station at Ignalina. Before making the final investment decisions, thorough cost-benefit assessments must be prepared and agreements must be reached on the division of the new reactor’s capacity and on the management principles of the joint enterprise.
At the meeting today, Ansip, Kalvitis and Brazauskas confirmed the joint positions of the Baltic States for the European Union summit to be held at the end of March, in which energy will be one of the main topics. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regard energy policy to be in the same context with the other European Union policies, particularly common foreign and security policy. A better integration of energy networks and diversity of producers must lead to a situation in which the Baltic States will become part of the EU common energy system, and their isolation will come to an end.
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