Increasing the capacity of the Transalpine Pipeline (TAL), which begins in Trieste, Italy, would resolve the Czech Republic’s dependence on oil imports from Russia, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told journalists in Berlin on Thursday.
The Czech leader was discussing the matter of energy security at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“If we are to impose an embargo, it is crucial to guarantee that citizens and companies will have enough oil,” Fiala stated.
The European Union is now considering a ban on Russian oil imports as part of a sixth sanctions package. However, this would be problematic for the Czech Republic due to its dependence on Russian energy supplies. Fiala stated on Wednesday that he would want the Czech Republic to postpone the embargo on Russian oil for two to three years, however, according to the prime minister, the TAL pipeline could be another solution to the problem.
“Strengthening the pipeline’s capacity is key to relieving dependence on Russian oil,” Fiala claimed, adding that he was discussing the issue with the German chancellor. “TAL would solve our problems. It is also the simplest option because we do not have to build additional lines. The extension of capacity would be enough,” the Czech leader added.
However, according to Fiala, the willingness of the countries participating in the TAL pipeline — namely Italy, Austria, and Germany respectively — is needed to increase capacity. The prime minister also described Germany as a key strategic partner with which Czechia has political, economic, and interpersonal relations.
During the negotiations, Fiala also wants to support the project of building the so-called gigafactory of Volkswagen for the car battery production, which Czechia has applied for. According to him, Prague is also interested in a high-speed railway line to be constructed between the capitals.
On Thursday afternoon, Fiala also met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The main topics of discussion were the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ongoing Czech-German relations and cooperation.