Ratas meets with Baltic colleagues, Polish minister ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jacek Czaputowicz, Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis in Tallinn on Monday. 4 June, 2018. Source: (Raigo Pajula/Government Office)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) met with Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jacek Czaputowicz in Tallinn on Monday, where the four discussed Baltic desynchronisation, Rail Baltica, and NATO.

"We have to consider the findings of experts and agree on a solution that is technically best, that would not bring additional fixed costs, that lowers the risks and ensures a high security of supply for our consumers," Ratas said regarding the plan for the Baltics to desynchronise their respective energy grids from the Soviet-era BRELL system and synchronise with that of Central Europe, according to a government press release.

According to the Estonian prime minister, he and his Baltic and Polish colleagues are expecting a political agreement on the best solution for the synchronisation project before the European Council in June.

There are currently three possible solutions for sychronising the Baltic electricity systems with Europe via Poland: either via one alternating current line, two alternating current lines, or one alternating current line with an additional direct current connection.

Leaders: Rail Baltic funding a priority

At their meeting, the four leaders also discussed the funding of the Rail Baltica railway project from the EU budget. The Baltic heads of government affirmed in February that their priority in EU budget talks for the 2021-2027 period was ensuring funding for Rail Baltica.

At the beginning of May, the European Commission submitted a proposal for the next multiannual financial framework, which is now being followed by proposals for the regulations and amounts for various funds. In light of the upcoming discussions, the Baltic prime ministers ad the Polish foreign ministers once again discussed the prospects for Rail Baltica funding.

Baltic, Polish defence spending meets or exceeds 2% GDP target

The third major topic discussed by the four leaders was the security and preparations for the NATO summmit taking place in Brussels on 11-12 July.

"We are approaching the NATO summit with a good message," Ratas said. "This year, the defence expenses of each of the Baltic states and Poland equal 2% or more of the GDP. Estonia also increased their contribution to the NATO operation in Afghanistan with 40 troops who are serving alongside American and British allies."

NATO is present in the Baltic region, and the Baltics in turn are involved with security issues on NATO's southern flank, the prime minister highlighted.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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