Lithuania has joined Poland's appeal against the European Commission's decision to give Russia's Gazprom more capacity on a branch of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in Germany, with the government saying that Brussels' move may increase Europe's dependence on Russian gas and harm Ukraine.
Nord stream
© RIA / Scanpix

The government last week gave the green light for Lithuania's participation in the European Court of Justice proceedings, Aurelija Vernickaitė, a spokeswoman for the energy minister, confirmed to BNS on Thursday.

The government maintains that the Commission's "decision leads to an increase in Europe's energy dependence on Gazprom and may also have negative consequences for Ukraine as the flow of gas transit through the country will decrease", she said.

The EU's executive body last autumn approved an increase in Gazprom's quota for the use of Opal, a gas pipeline in Eastern Germany that is connected to the Nord Stream pipeline between Germany and Russia across the Baltic Sea. Critics say that increased use of Opal and Nord Stream may reduce gas transit flows via Poland and Ukraine.

Lithuania's decision to join the appeal may be regarded as political support. Lithuanian specialists will submit arguments to the court, but the Polish government will remain the main plaintiff.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said in Kiev on Thursday that Ukraine had to remain an important transit route for Europe.

"We support your wish to remain a transit country. Ukraine must continue to be an important transit route for Europe," Skvernelis said.

"We decided to support the Polish side in the court proceedings over Nord Stream 2," he added.

Lithuania this year will purchase slightly more than a half of its gas needs from Gazprom.

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