Lithuania has called a referendum in order to delay the EU-agreed closure of a Soviet-era nuclear power plant that provides the country with most of its power. Eighty-seven members of the parliament voted in favour of the move with five opposing the vote.
The poll will take place on October 12th, when Lithuanians vote in parliamentary elections.
Vilnius is concerned that the country will be totally dependent on Russian energy supplies, at a time when relations with Moscow are at an all time low. The pledge to close the Ignalina plant by the end of 2009 was one of the conditions for Lithuania’s entry into the EU in 2004.
The result will have no legal bearing. But the aim is to toughen up Lituania’s negotiating position with the EU as it strives for a delay.