Russian Gazprom says it now has the go-ahead to build the controversial gas pipeline Nord Stream 2.
Anna Kaisa Itkonen, the European Commission’s spokesperson on energy, says, “We do not like Nord Stream 2 from a political aspect. However, saying that, there are no legal grounds on which the Commission can oppose it.”
A new route to Europe has long been the goal of the Russian state gas company, something that has met widespread opposition. A new pipeline will enable Russia to bypass Ukraine and Eastern Europe, increasing its control over the countries. Martin Kragh, from the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, points out that Russia wants to cut Ukraine out of the European energy equation and tie up Europe as a long-term export market.
Nonetheless, Chloé Le Coq, doctoral student at Stockholm School of Economics, says there are positive factors, for example the opportunity to diversify transport routes for gas to Europe.
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”.