Baltic States Keen On Energy Cooperation Despite Pipeline Row
by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)
June 04, 2008
The Baltic states and Poland are keen to join energy,
environment and economic development projects in the Baltic Sea
region despite their opposition to a planned Russian-German
underwater gas pipeline, a regional gathering heard Wednesday.
The assertion came at the start of a summit of the Council of the
Baltic Sea States (CBSS) attended by leaders from 10 of the 12
members. Only German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin were absent from the talks in the Latvian
The CBSS plans a series of reforms aimed at promoting safer
environmental and economic development in the region, Danish Prime
Minister Andres Fogh Rasmussen said.
Speaking to reporters, Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk
reiterated his country's opposition to the 1,200-kilometer pipeline
expected to link Vyborg in Russia with Germany's Greifswald via the
"We believe that the gas transfer by land would be cheaper and
more effective," he said.
Finland and Sweden joined Poland and the three Baltic states in
their criticism of the Nord Stream pipeline, which is backed by
Russian gas monopoly giant Gazprom and German firms EON Ruhrgas and
BASF/Wintershall, citing environmental and safety concerns.
The council, whose members include the European Commission, plans
to focus on the environment, economic development, energy, the
fighting against human trafficking and nuclear security, the prime
ministers said in a statement.
The organization was established 15 years ago to promote a stable,
democratic Europe at the time when some of its members had broken
away from the Soviet Union and attempted to form their own democratic institutions.
Since then all but two of its members have joined the European
Union and the council has faced accusations of being inefficient and
irrelevant in modern-day Europe.
It is seeking to change this by refocusing on developing the EU's
external relations with non-members Iceland, Norway and Russia.
"Without the EU the CBSS would be naught, but also the EU needs
this sort of regional cooperation. In this sense, organizations like
the CBSS or the European Dialogue in the Mediterranean are essential
for making EU-policies work," Scandinavian expert Vilhelm Konnander
told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Denmark takes over the CBSS's presidency in July. The next summit
is to be held in Lithuania in 2010.
Copyright 2008 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Nord Stream Pipeline
Nord Stream AG
Vyborg, Russia to Greifswald, Germany Russian Federation