Meeting of Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis with European Commissioner G. H. Oettinger: positive signals

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2017 11 02

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Earlier today, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has met with Günther Oettinger, Member of the European Commission responsible for budget and human resources.

 The Prime Minister has pointed out the importance of the funding of the closure of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant due to the social, economic and also security relevance of this project.

“The decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP is a long-term, exceptionally costly and unprecedented project. This is in a way a technological and financial challenge for Lithuania. The decommissioning will not be possible by 2038 unless there is sufficient support from the EU. This, incidentally, has also been provided for in the Treaty of Accession to the EU”, said the Head of Government.

The Prime Minister has noted that the closure process is taking place today without any deviations from the renewed plan of 2014. 40 % of the works have been completed; furthermore, the Government has taken a decision on state’s contribution to the closure works.

The Prime Minister has also stressed the need for certain common EU agricultural policy adjustments. “It is very important for us to ensure equal and fair conditions for all the farmers across the EU as regards the ​​direct support. It gains particular importance in the context of the ongoing tax reform in Lithuania, when we have to explain to the farmers why their direct payments are only about 75 per cent of the EU average. These proportions have to change”, – said Saulius Skvernelis.

He has also recalled the letter sent by the Government to the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Junker, asking for compensation for the losses incurred by the farmers as a result of the torrential rains. “The situation is very bad, therefore, we hope you will find a way to do this”, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister has also emphasized the need to keep the EU funding for the Kaliningrad transit scheme in the new financial perspective, also to ensure the continued financing for the Rail Baltica project, and the synchronization of the Lithuanian electricity system with the continental European networks with a view to achieving the needed energy security.

According to the EC member, the smooth and timely closure of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant is our common task, and it would be unfair to load the financial burden on the shoulders of Lithuania alone. “I will try to include a special line in the next financial perspective enabling you to successfully resolve this issue through co-financing”, said Mr Oettinger.

The guest has also promised to look into the possibilities of compensating the Lithuanian farmers and assured that, as regards the direct payments to farmers, the goal is one: the payments must reach 100 per cent of the EU average. “We need to ensure fair competition, but it’s a long process. The same goes for the synchronization of the electrical system with Europe and the Rail Baltica project. I think this is the goal for the next 5-7 years”, said the EC member.