Belarus says that it is open to cooperation with the European Union on its nuclear power plant, a project that Lithuania says is unsafe.
Astravyets NPP construction
© DELFI

"We cooperate with the EU and are open," Belarus' Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei told reporters upon arrival to the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels when asked about the plant under construction in Astravyets, some 40 kilometres from Vilnius,

He said that Belarus had performed the so-called stress tests even though it was not obliged to do so.

The summit's draft final declaration urges respect for international safety and environmental protection standards.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that she would speak about the "non-transparent, unreliable" Astravyets project during the summit.

The president said that the call on Belarus to adhere to international safety standards was only an intermediate stop.

"We will have to raise this demand very high in all international organizations and to demand that safety be ensured. Apparently, this will be a long and continuous process in our relations with Belarus and the European Union," she told reporters.

Lithuanian MEP Petras Auštrevičius said on the even of the Eastern Partnership summit that protest rallies against the Astravyets project would be held simultaneously outside the European Parliament headquarters in Brussels and in Vilnius on Friday.

A European Commission official, who asked for anonymity, told reporters earlier this week that EU officials would continue to call on Belarus to comply with the highest safety standards.

In an effort to hinder the project, Lithuania plans to bar access for the plant's electricity to its market. The Lithuanian government two years ago asked Brussels to start EU-level discussions on boycotting unsafe power plants, but it did not receive support either from the European Commission or other member states.

BNS
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