Monday

12th Nov 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • 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.

News in Brief

  1. UK seeks swift use of new EU chemical weapons blacklist
  2. Barnier briefs EU ministers: intense negotiations continue
  3. Romanian minister preparing EU presidency steps down
  4. Finland says Russia possibly behind GPS jamming
  5. German AfD leader under fire for Swiss campaign funding
  6. Seehofer announces he will step down as CSU party leader
  7. EU condemns elections in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine
  8. German Greens pick two top candidates for EU election

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Romanian leaders trade jibes over upcoming EU presidency
  2. EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press
  3. EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name
  4. Fear of nationalist surge marks European memorials
  5. Liberals ally with Macron for election, but no candidate yet
  6. Revealed: Link between MEPs CO2 votes and domestic car jobs
  7. All Quiet on the Eastern Front?
  8. Merkel and Brexit in spotlight This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us