Monday

27th Jun 2022

Sweden criticises Russia pipeline, but grants permit

  • Nord Stream 2 will supply gas from Russia to Germany (Photo: turkstream.info)

Sweden has joined Finland and Germany in granting Russia permits to lay down gas piplines as part of the much bigger Nord Stream 2 energy network.

It means Russia will lay two pipelines through Sweden's Baltic sea waters, with plans to have them turning a commercial profit by 2020.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The move risks further increasing Europe's energy dependency on Russia, which has in the past used gas supplies to leverage political pressure on Ukraine and elsewhere.

But Sweden's government on Thursday (7 June) said they were unable to turn down the €9.5bn Nord Stream 2 proposal, which is fully owned by Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom.

"Our judgement was that we were not able to say no," said Sweden's minister for enterprise and innovation, Mikael Damberg.

Damberg, in a statement, further explained that both national and international law do not give the government the scope to reject Russia's application.

He then said Sweden remains critical of the gas network.

It risks contravening the goals of the EU's Energy Union and may also not comply with EU legislation, he said.

The apparent contradiction to EU law and broader plans by the EU not to rely on Russian gas remain unresolved.

Damberg instead praised Sweden's role in shedding light on Nord Stream 2's "energy policy, legal and security aspects at European level."

The announcement comes amid an increasingly assertive Russia, whose planes have violated airspace around the region. Last month, the Swedish government announced plans to send people leaflets on what to do in case of war.

The Nord Stream 2 project is composed of two parallel gas pipelines from Russia to Germany. Each is some 1,200 km long.

Sweden had already granted permission for Nord Stream 1 in 2009, built between 2011 and 2012.

The second network running through its waters will be financed by German energy groups Uniper and Wintershall, Anglo-Dutch group Shell, Austria's OMV and France's Engie.

It would also concentrate some 80 percent of Russian gas transports to Europe on a single route.

Russia is also seeking permits from Denmark, which is currently undergoing a security probe over the proposal.

Opinion

Nord Stream II aims to undermine Energy Union

The Gazprom pipeline simply does not have any commercial bearing. Rather, it undermines the functioning and effectiveness of the European Energy Union and circumvents Ukraine for gas transits - paving the way for further Russian strong-arming in the region.

Analysis

Sweden's Nato debate resurfaces

You might have seen headlines about a majority in the Swedish parliament backing the 'Nato option'. But before you conclude that Sweden anytime soon will apply for membership - hold your horses! There is still a vast majority against.

Burned cars fuel Swedish election debate

Sweden's first big party leader TV debate ahead of September elections was marked by the burning of dozen of cars in cities across the south-west of the country.

News in Brief

  1. Possible terror attack halts gay pride in Norway
  2. Belgian PM: Gas shortage requires joint response
  3. Bulgarian MPs set conditions for lifting enlargement veto
  4. Latvia: We need a brigade-size Nato force to 'feel safe'
  5. Deal reached on controversial energy treaty reform
  6. EU carbon emissions from energy up 6% in 2021
  7. Germany step closer to gas rationing
  8. Albania: EU 'disgrace' at lack of enlargement progress

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. EU summit's uncertainty in the face of economic war
  2. Next winter's gas looms large at EU summer summit
  3. Ukraine becomes EU candidate after 120 days of war
  4. How to enhance EU cybersecurity
  5. Competing options for EU enlargement
  6. MEPs demand to exit 'ecocide treaty' after reforms 'fail'
  7. Finland optimistic in Turkey talks over Nato
  8. Hungary's global-tax veto seen as 'blackmail'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us