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Nord Stream 2 could face setback

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World Pipelines,

Gazprom has requested to rent a port in Slite and a harbour in Karlshamn (Blekinge), both of which would support the construction of its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

On 13 December, The Local reported that the Swedish government was concerned that construction activities of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could affect the country's defense policy. However, while the government shared its disapproval and security fears, the final decision was down to the policy makers of Gotland and Blekinge since rules of regional autonomy prevent the government from stopping the leases.

Local news sources have reported that with the Swedish government recently expressing concern over the project, the administration of Gotland, a Swedish Baltic island, is likely to no longer support the decision to lease the port in Slite, thus rejecting Gazprom’s request.

The Local reported that Tommy Gardell, Chairman of the Gotland council committee, has stated: “We're going to say no to leasing the port to Nord Stream.”

Concurrently, Karlshamn's mayor announced that the region had decided to postpone its decision on the proposed contract. It will not make its decision before February.

The Nord Stream 2 project is set to see the construction of two pipelines in the Baltic Sea, running between Russia and Germany, with hopes to double the capacity of the current Nord Stream pipeline.

With the two harbours being situated in strategically sensitive areas, Sweden’s Defence Minister, Peter Hultqvist, met with officials from the regions and warned about the consequences of renting the ports since Sweden has military activities in both Karlshamn and Slite.

Reuters has reported that Gardell also stated: "We in the region aren't able to make the kind of assessments made at the Defence Ministry and the Foreign Ministry. Clearly we need to comply with their assessments."

The planned pipeline project has received concern from countries including Poland and the USA, who say that it will make the EU largely dependent on Russia.

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