Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the 3 November US presidential election may result in a gas war in the immediate vicinity of Sweden over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet reports.
The news outlet argues that Biden entering office will unlikely make a difference in Washington's approach towards the project. The newspaper recalled that when Biden served as the US vice president between 2009 and 2017, he claimed that the pipelines built under the Baltic Sea would make Europe more dependent on Russian gas.
Svenska Dagbladet also cited the US president-elect as saying at the time that the best alternative to Russian gas supplies to Europe could be deliveries of US liquefied natural gas (LNG).
As far as Sweden is concerned, its government approved the construction of a section of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Swedish economic zone in June 2018, so "the issue has already been resolved for Stockholm in this regard", the newspaper notes.
On the EU level, however, the topic continues to cause controversy amid the threat of US sanctions against the project, the news outlet adds, arguing that politically, Nord Stream 2 can count on the continued support of the German government.
The remarks come a few days after the parliament in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern voted in favour of an initiative proposed by the regional government to set up a special environmental foundation to help protect the interests of Nord Stream 2's participants from US sanctions.
Washington first slapped sanctions on the project in December 2019, and exactly a year later, the US expanded the restrictive measures, targeting companies providing insurance and certification services for Nord Stream 2.
No Change in Germany's Stance on Nord Stream 2 Under Biden, Berlin Says
In late December, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) that Berlin would not yield to pressure from Washington in the two's dispute over Nord Stream 2 even after the transfer of power in the US on 20 January.
Referring to Nord Stream 2, Maas underscored that Berlin "does not need to talk about European sovereignty if that is understood as us [Germany] doing everything in future the way Washington wants us to".
Although Berlin hopes for an improvement in US-German ties under Biden, a spate of bones of contention, including the Nord Stream 2 issue, will remain, according to Maas.
"The German government will not change its stance on Nord Stream 2", he pointed out, adding, "the important thing is that we are aligned on the central strategic and geopolitical issues, that we are on the same side of the field".
The US and some of its allies in Europe have been opposing the project, claiming that it will increase European dependence on Russian gas. Moscow denies the allegations, saying this project is purely economic in nature and urging the US not to politicise it.