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ÖRESUND

Swedish King opens new Malmö City Tunnel

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf opened the Malmö City Tunnel at 5.30pm on Saturday afternoon, with the opening ceremony attended by an estimated 6,000 spectators at the city's Posthusplatsen.

Swedish King opens new Malmö City Tunnel

“Ten years ago, the Öresund Bridge was opened. Today, it is obviously possible to live on one side of the sound and work on the other side. The City Tunnel further contributes to this integration and establishes even closer ties between the countries,” the King said in a statement on Saturday.

The City Tunnel is a 17-kilometre railway connecting three stations in Malmö with the Öresund bridge. At the same time, it also links the Skåne rail network and increases capacity for future railway traffic. A total of six kilometers consists of a tunnel under central Malmö.

Others in attendance at the opening ceremony included Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) general director Gunnar Malm, Regional Board Chairwoman Pia Kinhult, Infrastructure Minister Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd and Malmö Mayor Ilmar Reepalu.

“The City Tunnel is an important piece of the puzzle for the continued positive development of Malmö and the entire Öresund region and an important project for the whole country,” said Malm.

“As head of the Transport Administration, I am of course also delighted that the project is well ahead of schedule and at a lower cost than the budget,” he added.

The project is estimated to cost 8.45 billion kronor ($1.24 billion) at 2001 prices.

The opening ceremonies included performances by a number of artists from Skåne, including Marie Fredriksson of Roxette and Timbuktu, and ended with the push of a button by the King, which launched a fireworks display of lights from the stage.

The King and over 400 invited guests took a premiere tour of the City Tunnel by train. The train stopped at Triangeln and Hyllie, where the King officially opened the two stations. The tour ended with dinner for the guests at the new Glashallen at the new underground Malmö Central Station.

The City Tunnel has now been handed over to the Transport Authority and the city Malmö, which will operate the facility and its railway stations. The tunnel begins regular operations on December 12th and trains will run according to a timetable through the City Tunnel.

From Sunday to December 10th, the public has the chance to test run the City Tunnel and have a look at the new Malmö Central, Triangeln and Hyllie stations.

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DENMARK

Swedish politician condemns Denmark’s ‘shit sandwich’ sewage plan

Copenhagen's water utility has been asked to postpone a plan to dump 290,000 cubic meters of untreated raw sewage into the Øresund Strait in the face of outrage from citizens and politicians in both Sweden and Denmark.

Swedish politician condemns Denmark's 'shit sandwich' sewage plan
Swimmers taking part in the Øresund Challenge back in 2011. Photo: Dennis Lehmann/Ritzau Scanpix
After a meeting on Monday afternoon, Ninna Hedeager Olsen, Copenhagen's environmental mayor, said she had asked civil servants to ask Hofor postpone the release until the autumn. 
 
“There has been an opportunity for Hofor to postpone the test work they will be doing until October,” she told state broadcaster DR. “That is why I have asked the administration to demand it.” 
 
Politicians in both Denmark and Sweden were up in arms on Sunday when details of the plan became known, forcing the utility to first postpone the release by 24 hours, and now postpone it further. 
 
Niels Paarup-Petersen, a member of parliament for Sweden's Centre Party, told The Local that the plan was just the latest in a long list of insults Denmark had thrown at its Scandinavian neighbour. 
 
“We’ve been served shit sandwich after shit sandwich over the last couple of years, but we've never been served so much shit in one go as this,” he said.  
 
Jacob Næsager, a city politician with Denmark's Conservative party, said that it was astonishing that the plan had been approved. 
 
 
“Many people want to swim in the Øresund, and I think it is extremely disgusting that people literally have to swim in other people's shit,” he said. 
 
Finn Rudaizky, a city politician for the Danish People's Party on the city's environment committee, called the plan “completely crazy”.
 
After Olsen announced the decision to postpone the plan, Morten Østergaard leader of Denmark's Social Liberal party congratulated those who had spotted it and launched a protest. 
 
“Good God, that was hanging by a thread, but hats off for the action,” he said. “'Shit good', as Niels Paarup from our sister party wrote.” 

Paarup-Petersen told The Local that he recognised that the utility had to empty the sewer to allow construction to go ahead at Svanemølleholmen in Nordhavn.
 
But he said there was no need to dump so much sewage in one go right at the start of the summer swimming season.  
 
 
“They can spread it out over a longer period, they can do it in a better season when people won't be swimming and there might be better currents,” he said. “It would also be possible to plan it a bit better so it will be released over more days.” 
 
He said he planned to work together with the Danish Social Liberal party to put in place greater environmental protections around the Øresund. 
 
“In the long term we have to find solutions, because there are solutions that can mean that the Øresund no longer needs to be a sewer,” he said. 
 
In a memo to the mayor issued on Monday, city civil servants said that they could not withdraw the permit issued to Hofor, as it had been drawn up in accordance with the correct procedures. 
 
Hedeager Olsen said she would now launch ask a team of  external experts in law and the environment to investigate why the city's civil servants believed it was right to authorise the discharge. 
 
“When the administration today concludes in a note that they believe the case management has been correct, and at the same time you hear environmental professors and others say that it is not, it is important to get the case investigated at a fundamental level,” she told DR. 
 
 
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