A conference concerning the proposed Nord Stream gas pipeline will not have Sweden in attendance, according to a recent government decision. The move by Sweden came as a shock to the Russians, who are organising the conference in St Petersburg.
Yuri Lipatov, the head of the Russian Duma’s energy committee, admitted his colleagues were rather upset the Swedes had pulled out of the meeting. Karin Pilsater, the head of the Swedish parliament’s industry committee, claims their decision not to attend the conference is because they want to base the government’s position on the controversial Baltic Sea pipeline on environmental factors instead of political ones.
But the SR International news agency reports that Anders Ygeman, the head of the environment committee in Sweden’s parliament, has suggested it isn’t in Sweden’s best interest to have a Russian gas pipeline running through its economic zone. His comment puts the environmental motive under scrutiny.
Ygeman is reportedly willing to discuss the pipeline with his Russian counterparts, but “not by flying around Russia in helicopters looking at sites”. At any rate, the meeting will take place as scheduled with or without the Swedes; though it will be tough to build a pipeline through Swedish territory without getting the country on board.