Any references to a deadline of the European Union’s (EU) support for Ignalina NPP decommissioning could not be a subject for negotiating, Vytautas Leškevičius, Lithuania’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at the meeting of the EU General Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday.
He also urged to simplify the formula that Brussels wants to use for calculating EU support for countries that suffered a sharp economic downturn during the crisis.
“On the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, the present wording on Ignalina NPP contradicts the recent opinion of the Council legal services, hence any reference to the final support and the duration of EU financing for the decommissioning simply cannot be a subject for negotiating,” Leškevičius said.
The Union’s support for the decommissioning of Ignalina facility is dealt with in the Commission’s proposals for EU financial framework of 2014-2020.
“In order to maintain nuclear safety in Europe, [support will continue until] or [the final support] will be provided for the decommissioning of the following nuclear power plants: - [x] million euros for Ignalina [N-facility] in Lithuania for the period of [2014 - x],” the package submitted by Cyprus reads.
Leškevičius also urged the EU to simplify formula for calculating payments to countries that had been hit hardest by the crisis.
“The intention to reduce the 2.5 capping grade further goes in contradiction with the objective of cohesion policy and Europe 2020 strategy also recognized by June's European Council conclusions,” Leškevičius said.
“At the same time, we appreciate the negotiating box, which contains a specific provision on the Member States that enormously decreased in GDP. However, the formula that addresses this specific concern is somewhat complicated and convoluted,” he said.
According to the official, the common goal of EU Member States is to find an agreement on the new multiannual financial framework by the end of this year. However, the revised negotiating box with a clear intention for budget cuts made this task more difficult, not less, according to Leškevičius.
Deputy Minister also reiterated Lithuania’s call to speed up the bridging of a gap between direct payments to farmers in old and new Member States and reminded of a proposal from the Baltic countries urging to ensure that payments to farmers in all Member States did not fall below a certain average value, Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
Cyprus would draft an updated “negotiating box” on the EU’s 2014-2020 budget taking into account the results of the discussions held in Brussels, the ministry said.
The financial framework will next be negotiated by leaders of EU states and governments at the EU Council on 22-23 November.