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Published: 12 march 2012 11:13

Latvian Prime Minister: In Visaginas nuclear power plant project, commercial viability trumps political considerations

Latvijos premjeras Valdis Dombrovskis
BFL/Tomo Lukšio nuotr. / Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis says that economic prospects are becoming more important than political or social motives in taking any decisions on energy or other projects. Commenting on Latvia's position on the Visaginas nuclear power plant after last week's political declaration by the three Baltic prime ministers, he says that Latvia's attitude toward the project has not changed.

"What is most important for us is commercial viability and whether this project is feasible in the Nordic markets. At the moment, we have to think how to move forward with the project, not how to flee from it. Everybody understands the importance of strengthening energy security and energy independence and of increasing new generation energy production capacities," Dombrovskis told the weekly magazine Veidas when asked if Latvia would not pull out of the project even if its ruling majority came under mounting pressure from the opposition and the general public.

Asked if Latvia was planning to use the Lithuanian-Swedish power interconnection, which is currently under construction, the prime minister said that the link had to be built first.

"In any case, building the link from Lithuania was a joint decision, and Latvia is already doing its part, which is, reinforcing the electricity network in the western part of the country with the help of the EU funds to be able to use the future interconnection. Whether this happens, will depend entirely on the market and the economy, but, in any event, the interconnection will help integrate the Nordic markets," he said.

Asked how Latvia managed to negotiate considerably lower gas prices from Russia, Dombrovskis said that the government was not in any way involved in the talks between Latvijas Gaze and Gazprom.

"Most importantly, in the past two years, the gas price has been calculated based on a fixed formula and, therefore, the negotiations have been for a discount, rather than for a gas price. If I'm not mistaken, Estonia has secured such a discount this year as well," he said.

According to the prime minister, now the most important issue for the government is how to implement the EU's third energy package and ensure third party access to the infrastructure. "This is what the focus should be on, because that will enable other suppliers to participate in the gas market, rather than on how many companies Gazprom controls," he told Veidas.

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