The European Commission has pledged long-term support for the closure of Ignalina. It has proposed funding of E105 million in 2004, plus E70 million per year in 2005 and 2006.

At the fifth meeting of the European Union (EU) and Lithuanian Association Council, members reviewed Lithuania’s progress in preparing for membership of the EU. Participants approved Lithuania’s efforts in preparing for the closure of Ignalina and discussed the financial support provided by the EU, as well as possibilities for further financial aid in solving the problem of the plant’s closure.

Lithuanian foreign minister Antanas Valionas Alionis said at the meeting that, before adopting a concrete decision on the fate of Ignalina, Lithuania must be given sufficient guarantees that the EU will continue granting financial aid for the works related to the plant’s closure. This should be provided for in Lithuania’s EU entry agreement.

Lithuania said that the issue of financing the shut-down of Ignalina 1 should be viewed in the context of shutting down the whole plant, saying: “We will need continuous and long-term additional budgetary allocations by a separate line in the EU’s budget for the costs over a long period of time.” Lithuania agreed to close unit 1 by 2005 and to agree in 2004 on a final date for decommissioning of unit 2. The EU is pushing for unit 2 to be shut by 2009 at the latest.

Ignalina still generates around 70% of Lithuania’s electricity.