Minister of Environment meets with Latvian counterpart2011-02-11
Minister of Environment Gediminas Kazlauskas has met with Raimonds Vejonis, Latvian Minister of Environment and Regional Development. The meeting discussed several issues of importance for the neighbouring countries. One of them was construction of the proposed nuclear power stations in Belarus and Kaliningrad. Mr. Kazlauskas stressed that those plans were causing a particular concern for Lithuania, noting that the construction site selected by Belarus was close to the EU external border and less than 50 kilometres from Vilnius.
"These developments lack transparency and information and are non-compliant with the provisions of the Espoo Convention, and the processes of agreement of their environmental impact assessments are not completed. Our position is firm as they pose a real threat to our public. We are getting support from both the Secretariat of the Espoo Convention and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). We are seeking a public hearing, followed by consultations", said Minister G. Kazlauskas.
He also thanked the Latvian Minister of Environment for active support on those issues while raising the questions of the nuclear plants' security at EU level and international organisations. On his part, R. Vejonis upheld the concerns expressed and said that Latvia had organised a public hearing on those issues. The Minister made a promise to provide information on the hearing and Latvia's official position.
The meeting also discussed the problems of waste management and the opportunities for both countries to participate in regional projects funded by the European Union. In particular, it dealt with the multilateral project "International Pollution Risk Management in Daugava and Nemunas River Basins". The Ministers agreed to hold a meeting of Lithuanian and Latvian experts in the immediate future to discuss and analyse opportunities for preparing a joint application in order to obtain EU funding for the project.
The meeting also shared information on the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and on the annual meeting of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) scheduled in March. The latter meeting will discuss the HELCOM budget and the implementation of the Baltic Sea Strategy and Environment Action Plan.
Ministry of Environment information, tel. 2191869
11 February 2011