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Six Northern European Countries Agree to Safeguard North Sea Infrastructure Against Threats

Six nations in northern Europe that share borders along the North Sea announced on Tuesday that they have reached an agreement to collaborate on safeguarding underwater infrastructure in the northern Atlantic Ocean from potential sabotage threats.

The Danish Ministry for Climate, Energy, and Utilities emphasized the North Sea’s significance as a critical infrastructure hub, linking Europe through essential electricity cables, gas pipelines, and telecommunications connections, while also serving as a vital renewable energy source.

With growing interdependence among neighboring countries, there’s an increased risk of sabotage and unwanted attention from hostile entities, noted the Danish ministry.

This initiative follows the 2022 explosions that targeted the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, incidents that remain unsolved. Although the explosions occurred in international waters, they happened within the economic zones of Sweden and Denmark. Despite investigations by both nations, no conclusive findings were reached.

The explosions caused damage to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, previously Russia’s primary natural gas supply route to Germany. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was under construction at the time, was also affected. Germany had suspended its certification process shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Denmark’s Climate, Energy, and Utilities Minister, Lars Aagaard, highlighted the North Sea’s potential as a cornerstone for a renewable and secure energy supply in Europe, crucial for transitioning towards a fossil-free future. Aagaard stressed the necessity for the six nations—Denmark, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands—to work together in protecting critical infrastructure across borders.

The collaboration will involve a comprehensive review of existing protection and resilience measures, sharing information and expertise, and exchanging relevant operational data. Additionally, the cooperation will align with ongoing efforts within the European Union and NATO.

In May 2022, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany had announced plans to accelerate the continent’s transition to green energy and reduce reliance on Russian energy imports. This involved an ambitious project to construct wind farms in the North Sea, aiming to quadruple offshore wind capacity by 2030 and increase it tenfold by 2050, ultimately providing energy to 230 million European households.

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