10:17 GMT +307 December 2019
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    Port of Roenne

    Danish Port Eager to Become Gotland's Stand-in in Nord Stream 2

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    Soon after Sweden's regional authorities notoriously backtracked from the Russian pipeline project Nord Stream 2 due, in part, to pressure from the government and the Armed Forces, the Danish island of Bornholm has registered its interest as a likely contender.

    The port town of Rønne, the largest on the Baltic island of Bornholm, is ready to pounce at the opportunity to claim a piece in a multi-million dollar project, given the local jobs and the income it is likely to create.

    "From a purely competitive viewpoint, we are well aware that our market value and competitiveness have increased because of this [Sweden's rejection of Nord Stream 2]," Rønne harbor director Thomas Bendtsen told Danish newspaper Berlingske.

    Previously, the Gotland port of Slite and Karlskrona harbor (both in Sweden) had to relinquish their participation in the Nord Stream 2 due to pressure from the Swedish government and high-ranking military officials, who openly opposed the Swedish participation, which would allegedly facilitate a Russian "invasion."

    ​Remarkably, both municipalities were initially cheerful about their participation in the lucrative Nord Stream 2 project, hoping for new jobs and extra revenues. Today both Gotland and Karlshamn are pushing for the Swedish government to compensate for the loss of income. Karlshamn was looking forward to 100 million SEK ($11mln) in revenues, whereas Gotland had hoped to obtain up to 60 million SEK ($6.5mln).

    Sweden's refusal spurred the Nord Stream leadership to look for a new reserve port. Company spokesman Jens Müller confirmed that the company was looking for alternative port areas' pipes and other equipment would be stored and loaded.

    According to Thomas Berndtsen, Rønne harbor already played a minor role in laying the pipelines for the Nord Stream 1 project in 2010-2011. Since Rønne is located near Nord Stream's German home port in Mukran on the island of Rügen, Bornholm is unlikely to play an equally important role to Gotland's Slite.

    Nevertheless, the idea of leasing the port of Rønne has received political support from none other than Bornholm Mayor Winni Grosbøll.

    ​Rønne harbor is Bornholm's main growth engine and is vital for the island's economy. The harbor, which receives well over 3,000 ship calls annually, is said to influence the economy of 1,850 Rønne inhabitants and account for 20 percent of Bornholm's GDP. In addition to being a major natural gateway, Rønne harbor has been decisive in ensuring the island's growth and development. In 2016, Rønne harbor anticipates a record profit for the fourth consecutive year.

    In 2009, Denmark became the first Baltic Sea nation to give a green light the pipeline project Nord Stream 1. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen emphasized that Nord Stream 2 admittedly is about big politics, but pledged to handle the case as a purely environmental issue in Denmark.

    The Nord Stream gas pipeline, which actually consists of two different pipelines, connects Vyborg in Russia to the German town of Lubmin through the Baltic Sea. Construction began in 2011 and 2012. Nord Stream 2, with two additional pipelines, will work parallel to the previous lines, according to current plans.

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