Sunday

17th Dec 2017

Focus

Swedes likely to back Gazprom plan to rent harbour area

  • The original Nord Stream pipeline also runs through Swedish waters. (Photo: Nord Stream)

Sweden's government said on Monday (30 January) it could not stop a Swedish port city from renting out part of its harbour to Russia to ease the construction of Nord Stream II, a planned gas pipeline that would connect Russia to Germany without the need to go through Ukraine.

Sweden's defence minister Peter Hultqvist is opposed to the gas project, which he considers a security concern. But the government lacks legal powers to stop Karlshamn, a small town in southern Sweden, from going ahead with its plans.

  • Nord Stream 2 is planned to stretch over 1,200 km under the Baltic sea from Russia to Germany. (Photo: Nord Stream)

The local council is likely to back the proposal to store pipes for the Russian project when it meets on Tuesday.

Hultqvist said on Monday he stood by his judgement that Nord Stream 2 would affect Sweden negatively, but that the threats were "manageable".

"I have previously informed how Nord Stream 2 affects our authorities and the armed forces and that it affects negatively Sweden. It is a judgement that remains and we have taken a number of safety measures," Hultqvist said.

Measures include a strengthening the coastguard, the armed forces and customs, and tighter surveillance over the strategic Baltic port, which is located 50km from the key Karlskrona naval base.

"We have had a good dialogue and tried to find a common solution, and now we feel that we have reached that goal so I will propose that we approve the deal," said Per-Ola Mattsson, Karlshamn council chairman, who hails from the same Social Democratic party as Hultqvist.

The town has emphasised in talks with the government that it is already an important harbour for Russian marine traffic, with around 700 Russian cargo ships calling at the port each year. The municipality is not prepared to jeopardise this traffic.

Mattsson estimates the town stands to win €11 million and 30 jobs over three years from the construction of the pipeline.

The government plans to change Swedish law so that national security concerns will give it the right to re-examine decisions made at the municipal level. That would help to avoid similar cases in the future. But the right to local self-government is protected in Sweden's basic law.

Last year, the government managed to convince the region of Gotland, an island on the Baltic sea, not to lease its Slite harbour to Gazprom. On Monday, the government said that the Karlshamn case was less controversial than Slite, because the logistical models were different.

If all goes to plan, Nord Stream 2 will come online in 2019 and stretch from Russia to the German coast.

The project is mainly owned by the Russian state company Gazprom, but also involves EU energy firms Basf, E.On, Engie, OMV, and Shell.

A Dutch company, Wasco, would be in charge of construction in Karlshamn.

Column / Crude World

Nord Stream 2: The elephant in the room

The European Commission should provide a thorough impact assessment of Nord Stream 2, a project that appears to go against all of its Energy Union objectives.

Column / Crude World

Nordstream 2: Alternative pipeline facts

Arguments put forward by Nord Stream 2's Brussels lobbyist in defence of the Russian-led project are not consistent and ignore some basic facts.

Opinion

Iceland: further from EU membership than ever

With fewer pro-EU MPs in the Iceland parliament than ever before, any plans to resume 'candidate' membership of the bloc are likely to remain on ice, as the country prioritises national sovereignty and a more left-wing path.

Supported by

News in Brief

  1. EU adopts 'track-and-trace' tobacco system
  2. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  3. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  4. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  5. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  6. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  7. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  8. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Catalonia, Brexit, and Uber on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Macron and Merkel take tough line on Poland
  3. Eurozone future needs structural reforms, EU leaders told
  4. Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June
  5. EU stresses unity as it launches next phase of Brexit talks
  6. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  7. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  8. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states