Green light for NorthStream 2: The Stralsund Mining Authority, which is responsible for approval in Germany’s coastal waters, gave the green light for the construction and operation of the 55 km pipeline in the German coastal sea. According to a spokesman for Nord Stream 2, preparatory measures such as clearing the construction site at the Lubmin landing point are now to begin on the basis of the permit. The first Nord Stream route already ends there. According to the company, the first dredging work in the German coastal sea could start in mid-May after the end of the herring season. zeit.de
Poland is mobilizing against the NorthStream 2 pipeline: Poland’s government wants to form a “new coalition” against the project in the EU. Among other things, it is relying on the drafting of a new directive for the natural gas market. In addition, u.s. aid is being used. “The United States is against it,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said this weekend in Warsaw. The Nord Stream 2 project undermines Europe’s energy security and stability. The billion-euro project is still in some approval procedures. A hearing is scheduled to take place in the European Parliament on 21 February. welt.de , deutschlandfunk.de
Sweden – Internal security an important issue: The Scandinavian country is overshadowed by 18 unsolved murders in Malmö alone. Now the government wants to strengthen the internal security for the citizens by tightening the arms law as well as more policemen and new concepts for crime prevention.. deutschlandfunk.de
Denmark: Who likes artificial beards or likes to pull the scarf far into the face, must watch out in Denmark in the future. The government’s ban on masking is intended to include hats, caps, scarves, masks, helmets and artificial beards that strongly cover the face, in addition to burka and nikab. n-tv.de
Gun purchases illegal? According to the EU Commission, Denmark has made illegal agreements to purchase tanks, vehicles and artillery for the country’s military. thelocal.dk
Latvia: Despite a large Russian minority, Latvian is to gradually become the predominant language of instruction in the Baltic state by 2021. The centre-right government in Riga gave the green light for a corresponding legislative initiative by the Ministry of Education. According to this, the schools in the Baltic EU country are to be transferred from 2019. Parliament has yet to give its assent. nachrichten.at
Strike in Finland: The SAK union has called for political protest against the activation model for the unemployed in Finland on Friday. Other unions have joined and large areas of Finland will be paralyzed on Friday.
How important is the Baltic Sea for the Baltic States?
“It is an important supply line for us. The land corridor between Kaliningrad and Belarus, i.e. the Lithuanian-Polish border connecting the Baltic States with the rest of Europe, is very narrow and not well developed. The old infrastructure ran over Kaliningrad. It therefore still makes sense to handle larger transports to the Baltic States by sea. Finland is also practically cut off by land. So the shipping connections on the Baltic Sea are extremely important.” Estonian Ambassador Mart Laanemäe,. The Estonians would be watching very closely what was happening in the neighbourhood. Less than 100 kilometres from its borders, Russia had stationed about 10,000 soldiers. These are motorized units and special troops, which in principle have always been there, but Russia has recently increased its ability to move very many troops back and forth very quickly. And if additional units were moved near the border at short notice or more exercises were held there, then make sure that the Estonians are. Especially since there is uncertainty about the goals of all these troop movements. tagesspiegel.de
Baltic Sea potential conflict area: Sebastian Bruns, conflict researcher at the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel’s Christian Albrechts University in the Berliner Tagesspiegel: “In the past 25 years the Baltic Sea has been considered a’sea of peace'” – now it is again a potential conflict area, and NATO’s strategic interest is returning. It goes without saying that Germany has a special role to play in the planning process. “No other Baltic Sea riparian has comparable capacities, so we naturally have leadership responsibility.” In Rostock, the Bundeswehr is currently building a maritime command centre, which is to be offered to NATO as regional headquarters.
No attack to fear
We are thus regaining the ability to operate at a tactical level, says Captain at sea, Johannes Dumrese, spokesman of the Naval Inspector. Of course, Germany would hardly have to fear an attack. The situation today is a completely different one than during the Cold War. With the exception of Russia, all countries bordering the Baltic Sea are allies or partners. Today is about solidarity with the alliance.
The Baltic Sea is of great strategic importance for Russia, Sebastian Bruns continues. Important Russian ports and shipyards would be located on the Baltic Sea, and timber, oil, gas and other goods would also be exported in this way. The Nordstream gas pipeline is also running here. Neither observers nor NATO would expect military aggression at present. In a similar way to Ukraine, the alliance is focusing on a so-called hybrid tactic: small pinpricks and provocations that create uncertainty and fuel fears. Not least in the Baltic republics, which would have nothing against their neighbours in an emergency. tagesspiegel.de
Russian regiment gets the name Tallinn: Russian President Vladimir Putin has renamed a Russian Air Force regiment after the Estonian capital, something that the government of the former Soviet republic may find provocative. A presidential order announced that the 23rd Fighter Aviation Regiment would now be named the Tallinn Regiment. The decree states that the new name of the unit is intended “to lift the spirit of military commitment” and “to preserve sacred historical military traditions”. independent.co.uk
Cities and regions:
Showcase waste incineration plant: Denmark has long been striving to recycle its own waste particularly intensively and to recycle all parts. The Amager Bakke waste incineration plant will not only burn 400,000 tons of waste and generate energy annually, but the roof of the building will also be used as a ski slope and regeneration park. baublatt.ch
Tallinn: The Union of Harju County Municipalities (HOL) has commissioned a study to show whether it is possible to build tram lines connecting the city of Tallinn with the surrounding cities of Jüri, Viimsi, Maardu and Tabasalu. A study on sustainable urban transport is to be carried out in Tallinn and the surrounding communities with the aim of determining whether connecting the capital with the so-called “Golden Ring” of the surrounding communities is a cost-effective and sensible solution. news.err.ee
Economy and technology:
Enride attacks Tesla: The Swedish startup Einride was founded by Robert Falck. Five years ago, at the age of 30, he was responsible for the engine production of Volvos in nine plants worldwide, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. But he is secretly driven by the development of autonomous and electrically powered trucks. He has already worked on a research project on autonomous cars at Stanford University, where he collected the basics for riding. un the Swedish start-up has developed an all-electric and autonomous electric truck called T-Pod. The supermarket chain Lidl plans to use the truck in Sweden in a pilot project as early as the third quarter of 2018. The discounter plans to significantly reduce its CO2 emissions during the transport of goods in the future. sueddeutsche.de
Swedish pension system a role model for Germany? 2.5 percent of their income is paid into investment funds for old-age security. The Swedes can choose between around eight hundred state-approved funds and up to five can be selected. Instead, just under a third of all Swedes contribute to a state-administered fund called AP7 Såfa. focus.de
VW: Investment in Gigafactory. manager-magazin.de
Basic income in Finland: A pilot project on basic income was launched in Finland a year ago. 2000 randomly selected unemployed receive a monthly basic income of 560 euros for two years. wallstreet-online.de
European Summer Time: Finland announced its commitment to abolishing summer time throughout the European Union and has found support in its Nordic neighbour Sweden. sbs.com.au
Estonia is planning crypto currency: three variants are being considered there; community Estonia, identity Estonia and euro Estonia. A community ecoin is designed to improve service, increase the value of joining the community and reward those who help build it. The Identity Estcoin variant will improve the reliability, security and transparency of our digital infrastructure and eliminate the technologies currently required to run our digital nation. The blockchain is used to verify the identity of the user. This Estcoin variant will not be tradable, but tied to one person. gruenderszene.de
Latvia: No longer on the blacklist of tax havens. nau.ch
Lithuania….has completed the cleanup of its government systems from Kaspersky Software. Kaspersky is suspected of spying for the Russian government. futurezone.at
Environment and sustainability:
30 of the 50 dirtiest cities: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 30 of the 50 polluted cities in the EU are in Poland. Since an extreme smog phase in 2017, environmentalists and the media have been drawing attention to the problem and the health consequences that will cause thousands of Poles to die prematurely each year. zdf.de
Climatic movement is limited: If the Polish government wants it, the right of assembly is to be restricted at this year’s world climate summit in Katowice. The police should also collect and use information on conference topics in the name of security. She could get this from the UN Climate Secretariat – which has apparently been passing on personal data to the host states for years without informing those affected.. klimaretter.info
Strengthening civic commitment to the energy transition in the Baltic Sea region
“In view of the global challenge of climate change, research institutions are even more called upon than before to educate and network people,” said the Vice-President of Christian Albrechts University in Kiel. Professor Karin Schwarz.
A new project at the Christian-Albrechts-University strengthens the partnership for renewable energies. “Co2mmunity” wants to support citizens in the Baltic Sea region to build renewable energy plants and to learn from experiences in other countries. The project, funded by the European Union within the framework of the INTERREG Baltic Sea Region Programme, started on 1 October 2017.
It will run for three years and has a budget of just under EUR 3.15 million. 496,000 euros of this goes to the CAU.
Dr. Fabian Faller from the Institute of Geography at Kiel University is in charge of the project and the accompanying scientific research. Other partner institutions come from Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. RENCOPs (Renewable Energy Cooperative Partnership) are to be established to promote civic engagement. These are strategic partnerships consisting of various stakeholders, such as farms with a biogas plant, local heating construction companies and a member representing small communities. These can initiate, develop, finance, implement and operate citizen energy projects together. For example, households could invest jointly in wind energy, biogas or photovoltaics for their own needs.
“The situation for citizens’ energy projects in the Baltic Sea region is very different. There are pioneering regions such as Schleswig-Holstein or Denmark and other regions that are just discovering renewable energies,” says project coordinator Gerlind Wagner-Vogel from the CAU Geographical Institute. An example of a strategic partnership is an existing project in Sparkebüll municipality, North Frisia district. It is a model project for heat supply in rural areas. “The high connection density in the village is remarkable,” explains Wagner-Vogel, “Thanks to the cooperation of municipal representatives, citizens and biogas plant operators, it has been possible to connect almost all buildings in the municipality to the heating grid.
The transnational exchange of experience and knowledge on good practices between RENCOPs could identify possible causes of successes or obstacles, support the preparation of citizens’ energy guides and thus contribute to the harmonisation of conditions. One goal of the project is therefore to find out which compositions of RENCOPs work better or worse. This includes municipalities and districts, associations, citizens as well as regional and state planning and state politics. Knowledge and institutional capacities are being built up for these target groups so that they can make evidence-based decisions for citizens’ energy.
Mobility and transport:
Finland: Strike at Finnish airports in early February. biztravel.de
Denmark: The Danish parliament has agreed to purchase 153 electric multiple units. Some of these trains are to be equipped for dual-current systems, so that the trains with speeds of up to 200 km/h can also be used in traffic with Germany and Sweden. dmm.travel
Stockholm: Buses should drive autonomously. faz.net
Sweden Mobile phone ban at the wheel : On February 1, 2018, Sweden introduced a ban on mobile phone use by motorists. Anyone caught behind the wheel has to pay the equivalent of 160 euros. adac.de
Lübecker Hafen-Gesellschaft – More handling in 2017: Lübecker Hafen-Gesellschaft (LHG) handled 4.5 percent more in 2017 than in the previous year. The number of trucks and trailers handled rose from around 678,000 in 2016 to 716,000 in 2017. The turnover of finished vehicles also increased by seven percent compared to 2016 to just under 70,000. . abendblatt.de
Culture, Society & Tourism
Finland there is a complete “Game of Thrones” village of ice. musikexpress.de
Lithuania: Nowhere else in the world is so much alcohol drunk as in Lithuania. Stricter laws have been in force since the beginning of the year. Especially controversial: an advertising ban on alcohol. High alcohol taxes and a nocturnal sales ban outside of pubs were already valid before. Further tough regulations have now been added to the first of January. Alcohol sales are only allowed in shops until 8 pm on weekdays and until 3 pm on Sundays. Furthermore, a minimum age of 20 years and an advertising ban for alcohol applies. deutschlandfunk.de
Certificate presented: Germany has presented Lithuania with the long lost declaration of independence of the Baltic country on loan. stern.de
Shipwrecks: Two shipwrecks, including one possibly dating from the 14th century, were found on the seabed.
Maritime archaeologists made the discoveries just before Christmas when they dived in the archipelago to take photos and collect material for a planned museum. thelocal.se