Czech and Polish PMs meet to discuss energy and the war in Ukraine

Czech PM Fiala also said energy security would a be a key focus of the Czech Republic’s upcoming EU presidency.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 29.04.2022 13:57:00 (updated on 29.04.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Energy security will be one of the main topics of Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s visit to Poland as well as of the upcoming Czech EU presidency, Fiala said this morning before leaving for Warsaw to speak with his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki.

The energy topic has come to the forefront due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine coupled with Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas. Russia earlier this week cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.

The Czech Republic will release the priorities of its EU presidency shortly before July 1, when its six-month term begins, so as not to interfere with the current French presidency.

“I cannot imagine energy security not to be one of the main issues of the next half-year,” Fiala said at Prague–Kbely Airport, which is used for government and military flights.

On Twitter, Fiala said he and his Polish counterpart would address the current situation in Ukraine and the coordination of their stands in the forthcoming negotiations in the EU and NATO. Further sanctions against Russia will also be discussed.

“Of course, energy independence and security, which the previous government neglected, is also a big issue,” he tweeted.

He told reporters before departing that he wants to talk about strengthening and securing gas supplies via Poland, how the Czech Republic can participate in getting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from terminals in Poland to the Czech Republic to reduce dependence on Russia.

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Fiala criticized the approach of the government of Andrej Babiš to energy issues. He pointed out the lack of progress on building the Stork II gas pipeline, which would have lowered Czech energy dependence on Russia.

Czech PM Petr Fiala and Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: Twitter.
Czech PM Petr Fiala and Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: Twitter.

The Stork II project was a planned 107-kilometer gas pipeline linking Poland and the Czech Republic. It was announced in 2015 and was supposed to have been completed in 2018. Construction work never started though, and as of 2020, the plan has been shelved.

Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Sikela on Twitter today called it “a fatal mistake” that the previous government did not connect the Czech and Polish gas networks.

"Within the efforts to reduce energy dependence on Russia, we are negotiating with the European Commission about the projects that will help us in this respect," Sikela said, adding that the revival of the Stork II project is being discussed on the ministerial level.

Fiala also wants to discuss possible steps in case Russia halts its oil supplies as it has for gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria as well as further sanctions against Russia.

Black coal supplies from Poland are another important topic. “Though we buy little black coal from Russia directly, we buy most from Poland," he noted. Because of the cut in Russian black coal supplies, Poland might reduce its supplies to the Czech Republic, which would be very problematic and should be prevented, Fiala said.

On the topic of Ukraine, Fiala said he appreciated Poland’s leadership. “Poland's attitude in receiving refugees is widely appreciated, as is Poland's leading role in countering Russian aggression and supporting Ukraine,” he said.

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