Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission: Lithuania went through a revolution
Press release, 25 May 2017
Photos of the Office of the Seimas (author Olga Posaškova)
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, delivered a speech at the Seimas sitting. He spoke of the EU Energy Union, one of the 10 priorities of the current European Commission.
“In the 21st century, independence is not about being self-sufficient, but about ensuring secure flows from diverse sources, sustaining vibrant competition, and building solid solidarity among neighbours in case of disruption. That is how you reach energy independence in a globalised economy,” Šefčovič stressed. In his opinion, Lithuania has gone through no less than a revolution in this respect.
Vice-President of the European Commission was pleased that, although until the beginning of 2015 the Baltic region was an energy island entirely dependent on a single gas supplier, with the construction of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the port city of Klaipėda, Lithuania can now choose from where and from whom they want to import. “Suddenly, Lithuania is not a pure energy importer but it can actually trade gas with its neighbours, therefore boosting competition in their markets as well,” underlined the Vice-President, adding that Lithuania has recently reached similar achievements in the field of electricity.
In his speech, the Vice-President of the European Commission stressed the importance of connecting the network of the Baltic States to the continental European network. “The connection of the Baltic countries to continental Europe is also important in view of the future likely synchronisation of your electricity network with that of the continental Europe. I know that Lithuanians (like other Baltic nations) are European at heart. It’s time your electricity follows the same European electricity heartbeat,” Mr Šefčovič said.
He also drew attention of the audience to the uncompleted tasks, such as improving energy efficiency, especially in heating and transport sectors. Mr Šefčovič noted the importance of National Climate and Energy Plans and urged Member States to complete them as soon as possible.
At his meeting with Vice-President Šefčovič prior to the sitting, Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Seimas, discussed the decommissioning of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, nuclear safety in the context of construction of the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus, the synchronisation with the continental European network, and other energy security issues relevant to Lithuania.
“Upon its accession to the EU, Lithuania made a commitment to close the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. It is an exceptionally expensive innovative long-term decommissioning project of an unprecedented scale. It is a genuine technological and financial challenge for Lithuania. We believe that a safe and efficient decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP is also an objective of common interest for the EU as a whole. We are concerned about the Ignalina programme in the context of Brexit: continued full EU funding for 2017–2020 is vital for the uninterrupted progress of the decommissioning operations. Support for the programme, which was pledged under the Accession Treaty, should be seamlessly continued,” said the Speaker of the Seimas and presented to Mr Šefčovič a decontaminated item from the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant.
Subsequent to the adoption of the Energy Union Framework Strategy in 2015, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has launched a series of visits to EU Member States, where he presents the Energy Union’s opportunities for Europe.
Rimas Rudaitis, Chief Specialist, Press Office, Information and Communication Department,
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