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Polish president proposes EU energy alliance-media

Written by: Staff
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BERLIN, Mar 5 (Reuters) Polish President Lech Kaczynski said EU countries should form their own energy alliance and criticised plans for a German-Russian pipeline ahead of his first visit to Berlin, according to Spiegel magazine.

Kaczynski, who will visit Berlin for the first time next Wednesday, said his proposal to the European Union, dubbed energy-NATO, would include a new pipeline connecting the bloc's nations who could then help each other out with energy supplies.

''The energy-NATO would mean that the EU countries, just like NATO members, would agree to help each other out with energy supplies, in whichever form but without the use of force,'' said Kaczynski in an interview to be published in Spiegel Tomorrow.

''The row about the Russian gas deliveries put a spot light on the dangers existing in this area -- and it was the Russians who pointed them out to us,'' said Kaczynski, a social conservative who has been in office for three months.

A showdown between Moscow and Ukraine over gas prices led to supplies to Europe dwindling in early January after Russia cut deliveries for two days.

Poland was outraged last year when then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a deal to build a pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

''The reasons for this bilateral pipeline through the Baltic Sea were of a purely political nature,'' said Kaczynski.

The pipeline is set to carry Russian gas to Germany while bypassing Poland, which relies heavily on supplies from Russia.

''We want the best possible relationship with Russia, but we are very alert to the German-Russian relationship,'' he added.

REUTERS CH KP2259

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