Friday, September 21, 2007

No to Nord Stream - II

Via the Estonian daily Postimees, two interesting and important documents from FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency, on the Nord Stream project, which clearly demonstrate that the Russia-devised project is a political, not an economic venture. The links are here (pdf) and here (pdf). The reports are in English.

From the FOI's "Statement to the Ministry of Defence concerning Nord Stream and the gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea":
The fact that the pipeline cannot be seen as a joint EU project is also highlighted by the fact that it divides the EU into two camps. Germany, France and the Netherlands, and to some extent the United Kingdom, are supporters of the project because they will be able to share in the imported gas. Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Sweden have been sceptical or downright negative. The project thus drives a wedge between the Baltic states and the rest of the EU and makes it much more difficult to achieve a unified, common energy policy in the EU. If the project brings with it great benefits for the whole EU, the analysis upon which such a conclusion is based remains unknown to the research community.

When Russian power increases and energy policy is arranged between Russia and the larger EU member states, it becomes more and more difficult for the new EU member states to become net contributors to regional stability, something Sweden has worked hard to support. The Baltic states’ opportunities for integration into European structures are also restricted by this development, and the situation of being dependent on Russia limits their scope for international manoeuvring. As a direct result of this, Poland is opening itself to the possibility of building nuclear power stations and Estonia is considering exploiting its resources of environmentally-damaging oil shale. This is one case in which security policy and environmental consequences are related in a way which is not considered in Nord Stream’s notifications. There are also obvious risks inherent in a policy of appeasement towards Russia pari passu with the increasing dependency on imports of Russian energy.

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