Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius is to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss the critical situation in the country's dairy sector and raise the issue of the safety of Belarus' Astravyets nuclear power plant on Friday.
Jean-Claude Juncker
© AFP/Scanpix

"In terms of the milk sector, Lithuania was hit the hardest. This is because our dairy sector is heavily oriented toward exports, with more than 50% of our processed milk going to exports," said Butkevičius, who is leaving for Brussels on Thursday evening.

"Therefore, Lithuania's dairy industry lost almost a third of its profitable export markets after Russia imposed its embargo. At this critical time, we need additional financial support from the European Union," he said.

Lithuania will also ask for the Commission's backing for the planned synchronization of the Baltic power grids with the Continental European network, and Butkevičius also plans to discuss the safety of the Astravyets nuclear power plant with Juncker.

"Lithuania is particularly concerned about the safety of the nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus. The Chernobyl disaster reminds us of the importance of ensuring that all safety checks are carried out. As a last resort, we are considering not buying electricity from the unsafe power plant in Belarus," he said.

It is estimated that Lithuanian dairy farmers last year lost around €75 million in revenue due to the crisis in the global dairy market and low milk prices.

Vilnius is the strongest critic of the Astravyets project, claiming that Belarus is failing to ensure safety at the plant that is being built just 20 kilometers from its border with Lithuania. Minsk rejects Lithuania's criticism saying that it will ensure the highest safety standards at the facility.

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