Former political employees now on other side in the hot ´pipe line question´

Politics | 2009-02-16 | 1 comment

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The pipeline would go just east of the Swedish island Gotland. Illustration: Wikimedia

Yesterday the documentary program Kalla Fakta (‘Hard facts’) on Swedish TV 4 was about the planned and controversial pipe line for natural-gas from the Russian city of Viborg to the German city of Greifswald.

The pipe line, which would be built by the consortium Nord Stream, is controversial in Sweden for many reasons. According to international law, Sweden can however only say no to the pipeline for environmental reasons. Analyses about the environmental consequences are ongoing and so far no decision has been made.

Many people also fear that an increasingly authoritarian Russia will militarize the Baltic Sea more than today in order to protect the pipeline. Official Russian sources have also said that their navy will guard it. Some also see it as a possibility for Russia to continue to put political pressure on their neighbours with the threat to turn off the gas, but in the future without letting their western customers feel the consequences.

The program yesterday showed that the former undersecretary at the Prime Minister’s office, Ulrica Schenström, now works as a consult for Nord Stream. Also Dan Svanell, former press secretary for many Social Democratic ministers and the former Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen now work for the same consortium. The controversial part is that they might take with them secret information that they obtained in their former positions and use it in favor of Nord Stream’s interest. Schenström did not want to answer any of TV 4’s questions.

The documentary also showed that Nord Stream has financed a lot of project on the island of Gotland, very close to the pipe line. They have sponsored museums and other cultural events and also the very reconstruction of the harbor in Slite which will be used during the construction of the pipe line. Critics say that they buy political decisions since the municipality of Gotland is one of the instances which will have their say before the pipe line gets green light

Read more here and here

Tommie Ullman


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