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Monday 19.03.2018 | Name days: Jāzeps

Soon it will be possible to express opinions about Nord Stream 2 in Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAt the beginning of June it will be possible to express opinions in Latvia about the effect of Nord Stream 2 on the environment.

Environment State Bureau reports that Latvia has received official statements from Russia, Finland, Germany and Sweden about the construction of Nord Stream 2 project in the Baltic Sea. Construction contractor – Nord Stream AG2 – plans to build the gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea stretching from Russia to Germany through exclusive economic zones of Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

In accordance with information from the company, the planned gas pipeline will not cross Latvia’s internal waters or exclusive economic zone. Nevertheless, it could potentially affect Latvia’s environment.

Written comments, proposals and initiatives, including opinions about the effect on the environment, will be allowed to be submitted to Environment State Bureau by 19 June. Discussion of the cross-border influence on the environment will take place 6 June at the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry in Riga.

As it is known, Latvian government has decided not to support the involvement of Ventspils Freeport in the Nord Stream 2 project, according to publicly available information.

Based on conclusions of Defence Ministry and Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry, which mention major risks for national security, as well as taking into account recommendations for security services, the Cabinet of Ministers decided not to support any activities associated with Nord Stream 2 project on Latvia’s territory.

At the same time, the government ordered economy minister, transport minister, environmental minister and finance minister to make sure the government’s representatives elected in the board of Ventspils Freeport vote against the port’s involvement in Nord Stream 2 project in any form.

It is also known that Ventspils Freeport and two of its active terminals – Noord Natie Ventspils Terminals and Eurohome Latvija – received an invitation to join the construction of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline through Ventspils Freeport, as confirmed by Aivars Lembergs.

According to estimates provided by Ventspils Freeport authority, the total benefit from involvement in this project would have been EUR 25 million for Latvia’s national economy. Lembergs added that Foreign Affairs Ministry opposes Latvia’s involvement in this project.

According to BATL, participation in Nord Stream 2 project should be considered very carefully, and it should not be turned down so simply and without debates. «The pipeline will be likely built regardless of Latvia’s desire to cooperate. We know that several EU companies have agreed to finance the project. IN addition, ports of four EU cities have confirmed their participation in the project. We don’t understand why Latvia should turn away from this project,» the association notes.

The association notes that Nord Stream 2 pipeline components that were planned to be delivered through Ventspils port are environmentally friendly cargoes with high added value. «In addition, participation in Nord Stream 2 would create new jobs and benefit the national economy, the state and Ventspils municipal budget.»

Representatives of the association remind that Ventspils port’s function is historically associated with cargoes coming from Russia, which is a source of coal, oil products and other cargoes. «This is why it is hard to understand how Nord Stream 2 pipeline components could possibly threaten Latvia’s security more than other types of cargoes that pass through Ventspils.»

Also BATL always keeps in mind that Latvia cannot change its geographical location. Instead it is necessary to search for all possible solutions to use this location to the full extent.

BATL President Inga Antane: «We are confused as to why the government made its decision behind closed doors without consulting with companies working in Ventspils, for whom this project would mean work and profit. Neither Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis nor Transport Minister Uldis Augulis have explained their position on this matter. I allow that we may lack information about wider international security context in relation to the reasons why Nord Stream 2 is not desirable in Latvia. If there is a reason, it should be discussed in more detail.»


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