Lithuania takes over the presidency of the Baltic Council of Ministers

Date

2017 12 19

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Estonia has completed its presidency of the Baltic Council of Ministers and passed it over to Lithuania. At the meeting of the Baltic Council of Ministers in Estonia, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis pointed out Lithuania’s key priorities.

‘We will focus on the defence cooperation and the protection of the EU external border in the first place. Another important axis is energy, particularly - the synchronization projects’, said the Prime Minister.

The Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Prime Ministers agreed on the need to achieve early synchronisation of our region’s electricity grid with the continental European networks. Saulius Skvernelis pointed out the necessity of political consensus on synchronization through Poland by the middle of 2018. The Latvian and Estonian colleagues expressed their support and hope for the early final decisions.

The Prime Ministers agreed about the regional gas market, particularly focussing on the importance of the LNG market and the interconnection of gas networks between Finland and Estonia, as well as Poland and Lithuania.

The Estonian and Latvian colleagues welcomed the news about the highway section to be built from Kaunas to the Polish border by 2022. The same is expected from the Polish side as regards the highway section from the border to Warsaw. The Rail Baltica project was also given sufficient attention at the Prime Ministers’ meeting.  The colleagues discussed the ways to ensure its smooth development, to attract other important partners such as Poland and Finland and to secure EU funding.

On security issues, the Prime Ministers agreed for the defence cooperation to be the regional priority. The Prime Ministers noted that Ukraine needed additional support for the implementation of its structural reforms. Lithuania’s initiated Plan for Ukraine could serve for this purpose.

Lithuania received Estonian and Latvian colleagues’ support as regards the insecure Belarusian nuclear power plant. The Prime Ministers stressed the compliance with international obligations as a major prerequisite, as nuclear accidents are trans-boundary.