On 3 June, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) in the EU’s Committee of the Regions (CoR) held a joint meeting with the ALDE Working Group on Maximising Cohesion Policy Results in the European Parliament and the European Parliament’s Information Office in Lithuania focusing on “Simplifying EU Cohesion Policy and Enhancing EU Macro-regional Strategies”.
The second panel discussion hosted by the ALDE Group in the European Committee of the Regions focused on energy security and included the following speakers:
- Bart SOMERS, Second Vice-President ALDE-CoR and Member of the Flemish Parliament
- Rokas MASIULIS, Minister of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania
- Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament
- Simonas GENTVILAS, Chairman of “Klaipedos energija” supervisory board
- Hans van BAALEN, MEP and ALDE Coordinator of Foreign Affairs Committee
In his address: Mr Rokas Masiulis, the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, explained that Lithuania launched the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Baltic States in 2014. The LNG terminal, which is located at the port of Klaipėda, will enable Lithuania and its neighbours to access alternatives to Russian gas and will serve as a flagship for the Baltic macro-region’s efforts to successfully address their persistent energy vulnerability.
The seminar was followed by a study visit to the Klaipėda seaport and LNG terminal. During the study visit, participants explored the seaport, and drawing on examples of energy diversification in Lithuania, the Vice-President of the ALDE–CoR group, Mr Bart SOMERS, said: “There is no real independence without energy independence. Lithuania fought for its independence from Russia and this is a truly inspiring example.”
Mr Petras Auštrevičius, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, said: “We regained energy independence by going from an inherited, inefficient and monopolised sector to a liberalised energy sector which brought more efficiency and connectivity, lowering the price of energy for our people, making it a good example of energy policy change on the local level.”
Focusing on efforts made by Lithuania and specifically the liberal Mayor of Klaipeda, Vytautas GRUBLIAUSKAS, to reduce Lithuania’s dependence on Russian gas, the following conclusions were drawn and were shared with the ALDE Party Council delegates in Vilnius as a contribution to future discussion:
- there is no political independence without energy independence;energy diversification is essential for connectivity, synchronisation and effective energy mix in order to avoid energy islands;
- energy policies have to be based on market rules;
- there is a need for regional cooperation and multi level governance in the production, supply and diversification of energy;
- the EU has to pay special attention to the nuclear power plant under construction in disrespect of international standards in Belarus because it is about safety of EU citizens;
- micro production of energy in energy diversification and security has to be prioritised;
- phase out fossil fuel in EU economy;
- research and the role of universities in finding technological solutions has to be explored.
For more information on these discussions or on ALDE-COR positions on energy please contact ALDE@CoR.europa.eu