Myths about Nord Stream 2

Writing DI’s debate article this morning, Lars O Grönstedt, advisor to the Nord Steam company comments on the debate in Sweden in the past week not to allow the company to use the port of Slite on Gotland as a base to store pipes for a proposed gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2.

The debate has shown that those who make the most blatant claims are those who are the least well-informed, he writes, listing the twelve claims that are being aired in the debate, including the one that the EU can decide whether the pipeline should be built or not. Grönstedt points out that such a decision is outside the EU’s sphere of influence and that permission is given by each country pursuant to the act on the continental shelf.

Furthermore, despite claims that the pipes may be fitted with signals intelligence solutions, no one has been able to say how such intelligence will be gathered. It is a well-known fact that radio signals travel at a much slower speed under water, which radically reduces the amount of data. There are far simpler methods available, if a foreign power wishes to monitor shipping in the Baltic, he points out.

Grönstedt concludes that Nord Stream should be invited to the talks the MFA and the Ministry of Defence intends to hold with the pertinent municipalities on 13 December, since the claims being made are based on “untruths”.

Campaign to relocate EMA to Sweden

A number of EU agencies will have to relocate from the UK in the aftermath of Brexit, write ministers Mikael Damberg, Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Gabriel Wikström and Ann Linde in a DI debate article this morning.

Announcing that the government will decide today to go ahead with a campaign to relocate the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to the Stockholm-Uppsala region, the four cite a number of reasons as to why Sweden should host the EMA, including a long tradition of drugs development and production.

Kinnevik CEO quits with immediate effect

Lorenzo Grabau, the chief executive of the Stenbeck sphere’s power company Kinnevik, is to leave his post with immediate effect.

The chair of the Kinnevik board is satisfied with what Grabau has achieved, but it is now time for the company to enter a new phase.

Grabau will remain on the boards of Millicom, Qliro Group, Tele2 and Zalando.

Rollén’s secret company

A probe into Ola Rollén’s secret, Cyprus-based investment company, Iskossala, raises more questions than answers. The company’s chief executive, Demetris Papaprodromou, is also chief executive for Centaur Trust, a company that specialises in advanced tax planning. Additionally, Papaprodromou has previously been named in a Turkish money laundering scandal, reports Svenska Dagbladet.

Rollén has little to say about Iskossala, the company that was behind the transactions that are now subject to the Norwegian authorities’ investigation into suspected insider trading in the Norwegian firm Next. When Norwegian police released the Hexagon chief executive from custody at the beginning of November, he was asked by the media what Iskossala meant to which he replied: “I don’t know, I didn’t think the company would come to light”.

Keeping quiet about air quality

The mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens said on Friday that they would stop the use of all diesel-powered cars and trucks by the middle of the next decade in order to improve air quality. Similar plans are being discussed in Norway, the Netherlands and Austria, but in Sweden, where Volvo Cars, AB Volvo and Scania carry weight, politicians are keeping quiet.

The only thing that has happened of importance is that the government at the end of October tried to delay new emission requirements, from 2018 to 2019, and that in February this year Åsa Romson, the then environmental minister, lobbied at EU level to allow higher NOx emissions than those proposed by the EU up until 2020.

The conclusion must be that Swedish politicians are in the leading strings of the auto industry, and will soon be alone in the world in this, writes Svenska Dagbladet.

New law to stop tax evaders

SvD reports the government is now proposing that Swedish companies will no longer be permitted to declare their taxes in a single lump sum. From next year large companies should declare how much they pay in each country they operate in.

Furthermore the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) is to increase the exchange of tax information with other countries’ tax authorities. The purpose is to give Skatteverket more power to tackle tax evasion.

Minister for finance Magdalena Andersson says, “This will be an important tool making it easier for Skatteverket to effectively assess whether companies are paying the correct tax and see whether it is the case that a company is not paying tax in any country.”

Lena Ek to boost ESS

There is a risk that Swedish industry receives only scant returns from the European Spallation Source (ESS) research facility. The ESS, which is being built in Lund, will be fully operative by 2025. However there has been concern about a lack of a national strategy for how Sweden and Swedish companies will benefit from the 6 billion kronor investment.

The government has now appointed former minister for the environment, Lena Ek, to support the government offices in the issue. “Her role is to create knowledge and collaboration between colleges, universities and business and to ensure all member countries who are part of this major project feel that they are in safe hands with Sweden as the host,” says Helene Hellmark Knutsson, minister for higher education and research.