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Gotland makes U-turn on leasing port to Russian gas project

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Gotland makes U-turn on leasing port to Russian gas project
Regional representatives and ministers after Tuesday's meeting. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
13:19 CET+01:00
Gotland said on Wednesday that it had reconsidered a plan to lease a port to Russian gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2, after the Swedish government expressed disapproval.

Majority Russian-owned Nord Stream is attempting to rent a port in Slite, Gotland, and a harbour in Karlshamn, Blekinge, to aid the construction of its new Baltic Sea gas pipeline.

Politicians and military leaders have voiced security concerns over the project. As The Local reported earlier today, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist met representatives from the municipalities on Tuesday.

After the meeting, Wallström said the government had expressed its disapproval of the leases, but added that rules of regional autonomy prevented it from stopping them.

But as regional heads hinted after the meeting, they now seem to have changed their minds.

“We're going to say no to leasing the port to Nord Stream,” Tommy Gardell, chairman of the Gotland council committee handling the decision, confirmed to the TT newswire at noon on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Karlshamn's mayor announced that they had postponed their decision.

“We think we should slow down and freeze the agreement so that we can finish our discussions based on the new information we received yesterday,” Per-Ola Mattsson told the SVT public broadcaster.

The harbour was previously used by the commercial company, whose main owner is Russian-owned Gazprom, when similar pipes were laid under the Baltic in 2011 and 2012.

Last week Russia's ambassador to Stockholm insisted that the country has "no plans whatsoever to invade Sweden" in response to concerns over the prospective port hires.

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