“The government has approved our proposal to establish an independent agency for the decommissioning of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. The Energy Ministry shall submit respective bills in the nearest time. This is one of the areas which Lithuania was criticized for due to absence of independent management of the decommissioning process,” Deividas Matulionis, head of the prime minister’s office and chairman of the task group that submitted a respective proposal, told the reporters after the Cabinet’s meeting.
Moreover, the Cabinet decided to extend the task group’s mandate until the agency was set up.
Matulionis told BNS earlier that the task group, established a year ago, had ensured coordination among institutions and presented Lithuania's position to all EU member states and the secretariat of the European Council. He said that the process was basically complete, with EU leaders expected to agree on the 2014-2020 financial framework during their summit on 22 to 23 November.
He said he was unaware of whether the government intended to look for a replacement for current negotiator Neilas Tankevičius, who has been appointed Lithuania's ambassador to Estonia.
The government also considered a proposal to go to court if it failed to reach an agreement with Nukem, a Russian-owned German company that is carrying out much-delayed closure projects at INPP.
"We recommend seeking an amicable solution to the disagreements over the implementation of the INPP decommissioning projects B1 and B2/3/4, or if no adequate progress is achieved in November 2012, considering solving the problems through a court," the working group, set up by the prime minister for negotiations on the EU's funding for the INPP closure in 2014 to 2020, said in its note to the government.
As Matulionis told BNS before the meeting, if no agreement was reached, the new government to be appointed after this month's general elections, should seek to defend Lithuania's interests in court.
"This is our proposal. Perhaps the government will say that the negotiations have to be continued. There is such a theoretical possibility (of going to court). It won't take much time for the lawyers to prepare a suit, if needed. This decision should not change in its essence with the change of the government. This is about defending our interests," he said before Monday's meeting.
Lithuania is asking for a total of 770 million euros to be allocated for the facility's closure in 2014 to 2020. However, the European Commission proposed in November 2011 to earmark 210 million euros for this purpose by 2017. Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has said repeatedly that this proposal is unacceptable as it raises doubts about its compliance with the commitments set out in the country's EU accession treaty.