Chancellor Merkel pledges support to Lithuania’s efforts for Astravyets safety

Angela Merkel
AFP / Scanpix

“From the German side, we will work to see that it follows high standards. Doesn’t matter if you are in direct neighborhood – we know back from the Chernobyl times that safety of nuclear power plants is very important,” Merkel told journalists in Berlin on Thursday after meeting with Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.

In the chancellor’s words, a higher degree of Astravyets safety would be ensured by a visit of international inspectors or by raising the issue in international relations, including the dialogue with Russia. These are the aspects Merkel noted when asked by BNS whether she would support blocking the nuclear facility on the EU scale.

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Lithuania’s Skvernelis said after the meeting he believed Germany would assist in putting the Astravyets issue on the agenda of the EU-Belarusian relations.

“I am convinced we got the message through that it was not a problem of just Lithuania and Belarus. I believe that Germany, as one of the leading states, will allow us achieve raising the issue between the EU and Belarus,” the Lithuanian prime minister said at a joint news conference.

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Lithuania’s government fears that the security standards are violated in the construction of the Astravyets plant some 50 km from Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, furthermore, the facility can derail the plans of synchronizing the Baltic electricity systems with Western Europe.

Nevertheless, the Lithuanian calls to block power from the Belarusian plant has not secured firm support from Brussels or neighboring countries. The Belarusian administration maintains the utility is built in accordance to top security standards.

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