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Europe

Report: Poland's Tusk Calls for New Debate over Baltic Pipeline

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has called on Germany to rethink the Baltic Sea pipeline project with Russia in light of the ongoing crisis over Russia's military presence in Georgia, German media reported.

Construction on the Baltic pipeline

The Baltic pipeline is a joint Russian-German project to supply Europe with energy

Referring to a plan by a Russian-German consortium to build a 1,200-kilometer (750-mile) pipeline to supply the Europe Union with natural gas from Russia energy giant Gazprom, Tusk said Europe should not increase its dependence on Russia with this project.

In an interview published Saturday, Sept. 6, in the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, Tusk said every responsible politician in Europe had to reconsider whether such a situation is still sensible after Russia occupied uncontested parts of Georgia after intervening to prevent Georgia's reassertion of its authority over breakaway region South Ossetia.

"We should have already set an example by developing alternative supply sources. Then the Russians couldn't exert any influence on us," Tusk said.

Appeal for common energy policy

A common approach by the EU on energy security was "absolutely necessary," he said, adding that there should not be any unilateral moves by individual member states.

"The Europeans should ask themselves how they can make themselves at least partially independent from the dictates of Russia gas and oil."

In light of the Georgia crisis, Tusk said the West's relationship with Ukraine should be strengthened: "We have to support Ukraine on its path toward NATO and the EU."

He further mentioned that EU partnership prospects for the Ukraine should be made more concrete at the EU-Ukraine summit this coming Tuesday.

While denying that this meant speeding up Ukraine's timetable, Tusk emphasised clarifying the country's position vis a vis the EU.

"The eastern partnership program decided at the EU summit before last should be implemented quickly, including the provision of financial resources," he said.

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