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Sweden chides Baltic states over environment record

Sweden chides Baltic states over environment record

Published: 06 Apr 2013 11:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Apr 2013 11:51 GMT+02:00

Swedish Environmental Minister Lena Ek has said that the Baltic Sea nations' failure to protect the region's environment is "worrying".

Ek represented Sweden at the Council of the Baltic Sea States Summit in St Petersburg on Friday.

She was critical of the council member states' failures to implement measures they have committed to taking in order to save the Baltic Sea from environmental degradation.

"That is very worrying of course," Ek told news agency TT.

Ek said she told those present at the summit that the Baltic nations must replenish funds to finance various environmental projects, partly in order to fulfil promises already made.

"There are countries that have not yet started taking measures in the different areas, despite having had several years to do so," said Ek.

Industrial farms, for instance, have high emission levels and Ek said that Poland, the Baltic nations and not least Russian Kaliningrad all still have a lot of work to do when it comes to sewage treatment and more.

"In that area Russia was very self-critical," said Ek, who sees the summit as a means of putting pressure on countries.

She said that Russia paid "an unusual amount of attention" during the summit and she hopes that will result in the necessary environmental measures being taken in the near future.

"I think all Swedes in some way have an emotional commitment to the Baltic Sea and it turned out that a lot of Russians feel the same. That is promising," said Ek.

The summit was hosted by Russian prime minister Dmitrij Medvedev. It was a follow-up to the 2010 Baltic Sea Conference held in Helsinki, Finland.

The Council of the Baltic Sea States is a political forum for regional inter-governmental cooperation. The members of the council are the eleven states of the Baltic Sea Region as well as the European Commission.

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