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Brussels, 4 December 2006

Commissioner Piebalgs turns the switch on the cable that will end energy isolation of the Baltic States

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs participated today in the opening ceremony of the start up of Estlink, an underwater electricity cable that will connect the electricity systems of Finland and Baltic States. The cable connects Estonia to Finland, and thereby the Nordic transmission grid to the Baltic States. “Up until now, the Baltic States were an electricity island. The Estlink will enable electricity trade between the Baltic States and Finland, effectively putting an end to the isolation of the region", said Commissioner Piebalgs.

The effective isolation of the Baltic republics was considered as an urgent problem to be addressed for the correct functioning of the Internal Energy Market. Therefore Estlink had been identified as a priority interconnector in the new guidelines for the Trans European Energy Networks (TEN-E). A feasibility study was given support by TEN-E funds. According to the Directive for the liberalisation of the electricity market, certain infrastructures can benefit from special privileged conditions to attract the necessary investment. The project did in fact benefit from an exemption to third party access until 2013, which was approved by the European Commission.

The guidelines for the TEN-E have also identified a southern interconnector for the Baltic republics, the link Poland-Lithuania.

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