After a recent meeting with Swedish Foreign Ministry as well as representatives of the Swedish Armed Forces, there is still no answer regarding Karlshamns's possible role in Nord Stream 2. It would be a natural loss of prestige for the Swedish government if Karlshamn were to sign the agreement on the storage of pipes for Nord Stream 2 despite reservations from the Swedish defense and criticism from high-ranking government officials such as Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.
Previously, the Swedish Armed Forces had expressed concerns about the Russian pipeline project. According to the Swedish Navy, the storage of Russian pipes in Karlshamn would increase maritime traffic in this segment of the Baltic Sea, which would have a negative impact on the Swedish defense. Blekinge County, where Karlshamn is situated, is home to the Swedish Navy's largest base of Karlskrona, which is the main reason for Sweden's obstinacy.
"Does this mean that the ports of Stockholm, Karlskrona, Oskarshamn are not allowed to increasing their operations either?" municipal councilor Per-Ola Mattsson asked rhetorically.
At present, Karlshamn receives about 700 ships a year. In 70 percent of the cases, there are Russian crew members present. Furthermore, Karlshamn harbor already serves as a depot for imports of gas and crude oil from Russia. According to Karlshamn Municipality, Nord Stream 2 would hardly entail any increased Russian presence.
Through its participation in Nord Stream 2, Karlshamn hopes to harvest at least 100 million SEK ($11mln) in revenues, as well as boost its job market.
In light of Gotland's involuntary refusal, the Finnish ports of Kotka and Hanko, as well as German Mukran on the island of Rügen, are considered as alternative Nord Stream harbors. Even the Danish island of Bornholm registered its interest to lease Rønne harbor to the Russians.