Denmark and Nord Stream 2: a small state's role in global energy politics

Steve Wood, Otto Henke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses Denmark's involvement with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. Impressing the Baltic as a sea of strategic significance and a potential international flashpoint, the controversial project thrust Denmark into a position of decision-making importance beyond its size and material power. Geopolitical and environmental considerations, and normative impetus derived from a liberal democratic political culture, influenced Danish attitudes towards the project. The impact of these concerns substantially delayed the granting of a permit for pipeline construction in the Danish marine space, frustrating governments and business in Russia and Germany. Ultimately, approval was granted because Denmark is a rule of law state. Yet the delay is crucial. More broadly, the article illustrates how, in the energy policy domain, illiberal regimes attempt to exploit liberal-democratic legal systems through nominally commercial entities, and considers the responses by other actors in this case.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111991
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue numberPart B
Early online date10 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Denmark
  • Nord Stream 2
  • Russia
  • Germany
  • European Union
  • United States
  • legal aspects
  • Nord stream 2
  • Energy politics
  • Legal aspects


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