An important piece of legislation has just received the maximum endorsement by the Seimas. On Tuesday, June 26th, the Parliament gave its backing to the National Energy Independence Strategy. The strategy establishes the fundamental objectives about Lithuania’s energy sector and the policies that need to be implemented in full by the year 2020. Furthermore, it sets a roadmap guiding the energy sector development by 2030 and 2050.
The strategy foresees mixed investments from various stakeholders, namely the Lithuanian state, the European Union (EU) and private investors, which are expected to reach 22-27 billion litas (EUR 6.4-7.8 b) over the upcoming decade. Such amounts will enable the country to save between 3 and 4 billion litas annually. This quantity is currently being spent on energy imports from abroad. According to the strategy, the investments will guarantee a secure energy supply whilst bring about more stable and competitive prices. As such the strategy also envisions that heating costs will be reduced by some 500 litas (EUR 145) per year per each household and it will allow for the creation of 5,000-to-6,000 permanent jobs in the energy sector. Additionally, investments will support the development of construction and services sectors.
The major energy projects planned by Lithuania include a new nuclear power plant, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, power links with Sweden and Poland, synchronization of Lithuania’s electricity grids with those of European countries, a gas link with Poland and an underground gas storage facility.
This strategic framework was approved in a vote of 60 to 20 with 31 abstentions and it replaces the previous strategy adopted in 2007.
In related news, Tuesday also witnessed the approval of a resolution supporting the country’s National Security Strategy. This strategy lists economic and energy dependence, terrorism, corruption, climate change, interference of foreign countries in domestic affairs, cyber-attacks, the erosion of cultural identity, as well as the actions taken by the intelligence services of some foreign countries and emigration as threats to Lithuania.
The list also includes possible weakening of the Euro-Atlantic community, regional and global instability, violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, global economic and financial crisis, international organized crime and other international crimes.
The Defense Ministry took centre stage in explaining presenting the document specifying internal and external threats to the nation’s security. “The probability of a direct military confrontation in the region is small, however, the military power of some countries in the region, tendencies of demonstration and threats or cases of use do not allow ruling out the possibility of military threat against Lithuania,” according to the strategy paper presented.
Therefore, the document also recommends establishing priorities to counteract these possible threats. The Ministry highlighted the following: development of foreign and defense policy for safe external environment, active and responsible NATO and European Union (EU) membership, enhanced cooperation with neighbors, integration of Baltic and Nordic regions and contribution to the spread of democratic values in the Eastern neighborhood.
Such discussions occurred in an environment where major discussions were held on the importance of Christian values and the importance of family. The strategy was approved with 57 votes, while four of Lithuania’s 141 parliamentarians abstained.