The leaders of Poland and the three Baltic countries – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – signed an agreement to finance the first gas pipeline between Poland and Lithuania. Commission’s President, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the deal marked the end to the region’s energy isolation. The new pipeline is hoped to strengthen its resilience to potential gas supply interruptions. On 15 October, when the deal was signed, Mr Juncker stressed that “today we have done much more than bringing the energy isolation of the Baltic States to an end. We have brought the region further together. Today we have agreed on European infrastructure that will unite us, instead of dividing us”.
The leaders of all the signatory countries – the Prime Minister of Poland, Ewa Kopacz, the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaité, the Prime Minister of Latvia, Laimdota Straujuma, and the Prime Minister of Estonia, Taavi Rõivas – yesterday also initiated a summit in Brussels. The three Baltic countries, all ex-Soviet republics, rely heavily on Russian crude. Brussels therefore sees the new project as an essential part of the “energy union”, which should contribute to the creation of a single market and connect the continent’s energy network.
The pipeline called GIPL will run from Rembelszczyzna in Poland to Jauniunai in Lithuania, and will be 534 kilometers long. From Jauniunai, it will be easier to access crude from Western supply routes across the Baltic. The pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 with the initial capacity of 2.5 billion cubic meters, thus covering almost 100 percent of the region’s consumption. The EU has been asked to pay 75 percent of the pipeline and it pledged to provide €295 million of the total cost of €558 million. Poland would cover approximately €120 million.