Poland wins out at EU summit
At the EU summit in Brussels, Poland achieved most of its goals, including financial support for the Nabucco pipeline project and the Eastern Partnership program.
Overall, the European Commission decided to allocate E5 (zł.23) billion to boost European economies, mainly through the financing of energy projects. That adds up to just over one percent of the estimated E400 (zł.1,847) billion that EU countries are spending to this end.
The Nabucco pipeline is a project designed to carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea through Turkey and the Balkans to Austria. The EC dedicated E200 (zł.912) million for the multi-billion euro pipeline, but even this amount caused opposition from Germany, which is the largest contributor to the EU budget and has been working on its own project with Russia – the Nord Stream pipeline, which would transport Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
The financial support for Nabucco, and not Nord Stream, was welcomed by Poland, which has criticized the German-Russian project for bypassing transit countries like Poland. “[Nabucco] is the best way for diversification and, consequently, for the energy security of Europe,” Polish PM Donald Tusk said at the summit.
The Brussels summit also resulted in the doubling of the budget for the Eastern Partnership – the program championed by Poland and Sweden to support countries to the east of the EU, which is scheduled for launch during the EU Prague Summit in May. Despite initial opposition by Spain and Portugal, Europe’s westernmost countries, the program reportedly obtained an additional E600 (zł.2,770) million.
Of the E5 billion to be handed out by the EC, Poland will get E330 (zł.1,526) million to be spent mainly on energy projects.
These include the modernization of a power plant in Bełchatów at a cost of E180 (zł.832.5) million and the provision of infrastructure to import liquid natural gas from Norway to a terminal in Świnoujście, which will cost E80 (zł.370) million.
Other energy projects that will be co-financed by the EC include the ITGI Poseidon gas pipeline between Italy and Greece, the Skanled gas pipeline in the Scandinavia (which will link to Poland), a gas pipe between Poland and Slovakia, and a Polish-German wind power-plant project.