Baltic states oppose Russian-German pipeline

27th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 October 2005, RIGA - The Baltic Assembly has issued a joint statement opposing Russian-German plans to build a pipeline under the Baltic Sea to pump Russian natural gas to the West, the Baltic News Service (BNS) reported Thursday.

27 October 2005

RIGA - The Baltic Assembly has issued a joint statement opposing Russian-German plans to build a pipeline under the Baltic Sea to pump Russian natural gas to the West, the Baltic News Service (BNS) reported Thursday.

The Baltic Assembly, an inter-parliamentary working group of European Union-newcomers Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, said the assembly planned to adopt a resolution by late November condemning the plans, claiming they undermine their energy security.

Environmental concerns and fears for energy security have prompted opposition to the project which is set to bypass their countries.

E.U. member Poland has also condemned the proposed gas pipeline, as Russia could use it to gain greater political leverage in relations with the European Union.

Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus raised concerns about the project with outgoing German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in a meeting in Berlin on October 25. Adamkus was also due to discuss the issue with Schroeder's Christian Democrat successor Angela Merkel. Poland and the Baltic states hope she may reconsider the plans.

After his meeting with Adamkus, Schroeder said it was the private industry's exclusive right to decide how to build the 1,089-kilometre pipeline set to run from Wyborg near Russia's St. Petersburg to Greifswald in Germany.

Routing the pipeline under the Baltic Sea and not through Baltic states including his own country, showed a "total lack of understanding" for the concept of good, neighbourly relations with Germany's fellow E.U. partners, Adamkus said.

In an unusually sharp reply, Schroeder told Deutsche Presse- Agentur that Adamkus' comments were totally unjustified "both in their form and their content".

An article published Thursday in the Moscow-based Rossiiskaya Gazeta expressed concern that Merkel "may bring into question" the pipeline deal it described as "Moscow's main foreign policy victory this year."

The daily, which is close to the Kremlin, noted, "there are extremely powerful companies behind the plans to build the gas pipeline" in Russia and Germany.

"And Berlin will hardly drop the project for the sake of the political ambitions of the 'little states'," Rossiiskaja Gazeta concluded.

The 4 billion-euro (4.8 billion-dollar) pipeline is to be built by Russia's Gazprom, which holds a 51 per cent stake and German companies BASF and E.ON.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder witnessed the signing of the deal in Berlin on September 8.

Gas is due to begin flowing through the pipeline from 2010. Russia already supplies 47 per cent of Germany's natural gas and the pipeline, with an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres, will be capable of meeting the other half of German gas needs.

DPA

Subject: German news

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