SECURITY 28 November, 2019 1:37 pm   
COMMENTS: Mateusz Gibała

Poland and the Baltic states discuss cooperation in the field of energy (REPORT)

During a conference „NATO Eastern Flank Security” organized by Warsaw Institute, a panel dedicated to energy took place. LNG and electricity supplies were among the topics, as well as strategic projects like Ostrovets nuclear power plant or Nord Stream 2.

– Common electricity market is a main project of the European Union. Currently, we have 5 energy areas. The Baltic states were a part of the Soviet Union and it was hard to predict that they would one day become members of NATO and EU. Synchronization of the Baltic states will make them members of a single European energy market, which will strengthen their energy security. There is always a risk of hybrid tensions, but in the Baltic area, there is already infrastructure aimed to make them independent from Russia, for instance NorthBalt cable or Lithuanian LNG terminal in Klaipeda. Still, we need to be careful, but in any dangerous situations, we have tools to defend ourselves. While implementing the Harmony Link, we’re not expecting any resistance from the Russian side, as it bypasses the Russian economic zone. The potential problem might be that it crosses Nord Stream 2 – said Krystian Kowalewski, Director of the World Energy Council Warsaw Office

– It is important to understand security and energy implications of projects like the Ostrovets nuclear power plant. It is located near to the Belarussian-Lithuanian border and a hypothetical disaster could have a huge impact on Lithuania, but also on the whole region. Neighboring nations seem to be less concerned about this problem, but we need to be united on this issue. We should follow our schedules and do our job, and let us hope for the best.  – said Olevs Nikers, President of the Baltic Security Foundation.

– Ostrowiec power plant is located only 50 kilometers from Vilnius, we all have to understand that it is a geopolitical tool of Kremlin to spread its influence in the region. Lithuania has been raising its concerns since 2009, even in the United Nations. It is not only a regional issue, it concerns the whole European Union. LNG is a game changer in Lithuania. We did a tremendous job and in 2014 we became the frontrunners of this industry. It is a good alternative for other sources of energy, especially that Gazprom and Russia uses energy sources as a weapon. Much of the gas used in Lithuania comes from Norway. We now have the possibility to choose where to take gas from – said Mantas Macikas, President of Memel Institute in Lithuania.

– We need decisiveness in the EU energy policy. Transatlantic cooperation might be a remedy for some of our problems. Russian companies took control over transmission infrastructure in Latvia and Estonia, and this issue is not only about business, but also security. The present German policy is a continuation of its previous Ostpolitik. Angela Merkel seems to be exhausted by the leadership, but her possible successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is not ready for this function yet. Not many common energy projects in the Baltic states were successful. The only country that can cooperate on security basis with the Baltic states right now is Poland – said Sandis Šrāders from the Baltic Defence College.