"This (safety) is very important not only to Lithuanian citizens, but to all EU citizens as well. A positive aspect for Lithuania, in my opinion, is that the EU's 2014-2020 financial perspective provides for continuation of funding for the Ignalina power plant. Before we approve a final seven-year budget, there will be still discussions at the European Council and the European Parliament. I hope that Lithuania will eventually have the required funding for this project," he said in an interview with the paper.
Lithuania is asking for a total of 770 million euros to be allocated for the Ignalina plant's closure in 2014 to 2020. According to different sources, the European Commission proposes about 210 million to 230 million euros.
The country has been allocated 1.37 billion euros for this purpose in the current budget period ending in 2013.
EU probe into Gazprom wasn't Lithuania's provocation
Oettinger says that the European Commission's recently launched investigation into Russia's gas giant Gazprom was not a provocation by Lithuania, as claimed by the Russian group.
"It was not a provocation. We support the Lithuanian government and its aspirations. We also advise maintaining a strict policy of implementation of the third energy package," he said in an interview with the paper.
Oettinger said that the European Commission carries out antitrust probes into various economic entities, irrespective of whether they are registered in or outside the EU.
"The investigation against Gazprom is very important, but it is just one of many investigations. So let's wait for the findings first. All economic entities have to abide by EU internal market rules and not to involve politics. The Commission members and I should refrain from comment until the investigation is over," he said.
Oettinger said that the Commission cannot influence specific contracts and that the aim is to achieve as much competition in the European energy market as possible.
He said that the Commission seeks that gas prices should depend on gas supply and demand in the market and not on oil prices.