Lithuania ready to ensure power from unsafe plants has no access to its market - PM
Amid doubts whether Lithuania's efforts to impose an embargo on electricity from the Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus will be compatible with WTO rules, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that the country will ensure that power from unsafe facilities has no access to its market.
In an interview published on Wednesday, Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission's Vice-President for Energy Union, who is visiting Lithuania his week, said that nuclear electricity imports could not be banned in the European Union and that bans on nuclear power imports from third countries should be assessed in the light of WTO rules.
When asked if that meant that Lithuania's efforts to block Belarusian electricity would be a fiasco, Skvernelis said, "Definitely not".
"It was mentioned that this was a problem between the EU and Belarus, not a problem for Lithuania. As to access, we have a law and we have coordinated the position with our Baltic partners. Technically, this is possible. Lithuania is ready to do so to prevent electricity from unsafe nuclear power plants from entering our market," the prime minister said on the Žinių Radijas radio station on Thursday.
In his words, it not necessary to impose an EU-wide ban. It is sufficient to bar access to several markets.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said on Wednesday that Lithuania's efforts to block electricity from Astravyets were a matter of national security and should not run counter to WTO rules.
The Lithuanian parliament last April adopted a decision to restrict electricity imports from the Astravyets plant and other unsafe nuclear facilities in third countries.
The government in June 2016 endorsed an embargo plan for restricting, via Nord Pool's Lithuanian bidding area, the import of electricity from Astravyets and other third-country plants to Lithuania and, at the same time, other EU member states. Poland has said recently that it is joining Lithuania's initiative.
Belarus is not a WTO member, but Russia, whose electricity imports would also be restricted, joined the organization in 2012.