Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis was awarded the man of the year in the Economic Forum in Krynica. The event was an opportunity to manifest the tightening of relations between Poland and Lithuania – says Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of BiznesAlert.pl.
Aftermath of a breakthrough
The first breakthrough in the relations between Poland and Lithuania was possible thanks to the active attitude of former energy minister Rokas Masiulis, who visited Krynica many times in the past. The breakthrough consisted in breaking the deadlock in the case of the Mazeikiai Refinery, which was written off before it, and PKN Orlen fruitlessly sought a buyer for it. This was possible, among other things, thanks to the packet conversations that I suggested in 2015.
After the appointment of Saulius Skvernelis’ cabinet, another resistance was broken, this time in the Ministry of Transport and the Lithuanian Railways. The president of this company, which blocked the construction of tracks allowing to increase the profitability of Mazeikiai, left in an atmosphere of scandal and accusations of cooperation with Russian services. – They were post-communists with strange connections in Moscow – the source in the Lithuanian government tells me. The new cabinet focuses on cooperation with Poland. Another element was the memorandum on the reconstruction of the tracks to Renge. The joint press conference of Prime Minister Skvernelis with the head of PKN Orlen Daniel Obajtek was quite sweet. It is an actual progress in the relations between Poland and Lithuania. Another topic for discussion is the oil pipeline from Mazeikiai to Klaipeda and the development of rail deliveries to Poland. The sides are to discuss the terms of supply of this kind. – There are still details of the product pipeline that need to be developed, for example how the possible losses Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways – red.) will be compensated – admitted the Prime Minister of Lithuania quoted by BiznesAlert.pl. The topic of the pipeline is therefore a difficult element of talks, which – as I wrote – did not appear during the symbolic arrangement of the first tracks to Renge.
Competition on healthy principles
Poles and Lithuanians seem not to care about the fact that the Polish LNG terminal in Świnoujście will compete for clients in the Baltic in accompanying services, such as bunker or small-scale deliveries. With the development of new facilities, their areas of activity will overlap. For this reason, it is worth accelerating the work on expanding the functionality of the LNG terminal. However, it will be a normal market competition that may grow after the launch of the Poland-Lithuania Gas Pipeline, connecting the gas island of the Baltic States with the rest of the European Union. It was explained in Krynica by the head of PGNiG Piotr Woźniak, who admitted that ultimately strengthening the security of supply of one of the parties translates into a general increase of this security for the entire European Union, so the competition will benefit the client’s portfolio, and on the multiplicity of terminals its security. Woźniak’s statement that the competition with the Lithuanians will take place in a civilized manner, begs to compare PGNiG’s to criticizm of Russian Gazprom attitude towards the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
Synchronization and Ostrołęka
Another topic, which has already been decided at the political level, is the synchronization of the power network of Lithuania and the other Baltic states with the European Union, by Poland. Political arrangements were forwarded to the technical elaboration of power grid operators, who will determine how to bring the process to the end of the process in the fastest and the fastest way in 2025 in line with the expectations of the European Commission. An important aspect will be the role of Ostrołęka Power Plant, which will be a new power protecting against the generation gap in Poland, but also in Lithuania, apart from considering whether the carbon block is the best possible protection. My interlocutors from Lithuania confirm the findings from Poland that for Warsaw the most important thing is that LitPol Link 2 will not be created, which would prevent control over energy flows and put Polish generation capacities on uncontrolled competition from Renewable Energy Sources and the Scandinavian nuclear power.
Economic policy or press materials?
Good relations between Poland and Lithuania are a thorn in the flesh of people, who claim that the talks should focus on the policy towards the Polish minority in the Lithuanian territory. Some border circles and the National Movement joined the critics of the government’s line. However, the second life of Mazeikiai and energy cooperation between Poland and Lithuania are beneficial for Poland. Due to the growing economic ties, they may also have a slightly greater significance for the fate of the Polish minority in Lithuania for a long time than the press materials on the Kresy.pl portal.