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By Erik Matzen and Stine Jacobsen
COPENHAGEN, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Denmark passed a law on Thursday that could allow it to ban Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from going through its waters on grounds of security or foreign policy.
The measure amends Denmark’s regulatory framework to allow the authorities to cite security or foreign policy as reasons to block a pipeline. Previously these were not valid grounds for objection.
Denmark has been caught in a geopolitical conflict as Russia’s Gazprom and its European partners have sought to build Nord Stream 2, a giant pipeline to pump natural gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing existing land routes over Ukraine, Poland and Belarus.
The proposed route goes through Danish waters, but the pipeline consortium is investigating an alternative route north of the Danish island Bornholm which would run in international waters and therefore not be impacted by a potential Danish ban.
Nord Stream 2 has already applied for permission in Denmark and its application is being assessed at the Danish Energy Agency. The change to the law will take effect from Jan. 1 but apply to applications that have already been submitted.
In June, Danish energy and climate minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said he expected the agency to have completed its assessment during early 2018. (Additional reporting by Teis Jensen,; Editing by Peter Graff)