Swedish island backs away from Russian gas project

Decision comes after the Swedish government expresses disapproval of the lease of a port to Russian gas firm Nord Stream

Ekip  | 14.12.2016 - Update : 20.12.2016
Swedish island backs away from Russian gas project


By Elin Joensson


Representatives from the Swedish municipality of Gotland, an island located in the Baltic Sea, backed away from plans to lease one of its ports to Russian gas firm Nord Stream.

According to Swedish newswire TT on Wednesday, chairman of the Gotland council committee Tommy Gardell confirmed the Swedish government had expressed disapproval of the lease after meeting with

Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom and Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist the day before. 

"It's correct that the information we received has been determinant for us," he told state broadcaster SVT. 

"We can't make the same assessments in this region as they can at the Government Offices of Sweden and we have to adapt ourselves accordingly. 

"Of course it's a disappointment. We're talking about job opportunities and it would have been a boost for hotels and businesses." 

The Russian gas company’s proposal for its project Nord Stream 2 would allow it to build two gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, stretching from Russia to Germany. Nord Stream laid similar pipes in the same harbour in 2011 and 2012. 

The proposal has stirred a debate concerning national security and local economy on the island of Gotland. 

A translated report of the proposal states the amount of money involved goes up to between 25 and 60 million Swedish kronor ($2.7-6.5 million), said Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter (DN). 

On the weekend, Estonia's Swedish-born honorary consul for Gotland, Riina Noodapera, expressed her concerns about the pipeline project. 

"It is important that Slite [town on Gotland], does not become a springboard for Russia onto Gotland," she told DN. 

The Gotland municipality will decide on letting Nord Stream rent the port or not, as the Swedish government can’t directly control decisions within municipal self-government. 

Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist has previously told TT about his concerns on the consequences of Nord Stream renting the ports due to Sweden’s military activities in the region. 

The official response to Nord Stream's request to rent the port will be made on Thursday.

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