European Commission takes Poland to European Court of Justice over logging in Bialowieza Forest

Today the Commission refers Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU for illegal logging in the Bialowieza Forest. By increased logging, Minister Szyszko violated European Union’s nature legislation. If Polish government does not comply with the judgement, we may have to pay a-few-milion-euro penalty.

Bringing the case to the Court of Justice shows that the pri-litigation stage of the procedure ended with Minister Szyszko’s failure. His vision of ‘saving’ the Forest by logging did not convince the experts.

Non-governmental organizations (ClientEarth Prawnicy dla Ziemi, Dzika Polska, Greenpeace, Greenmind, OTOP, Pracownia na rzecz Wszystkich Istot, WWF) already in 2016 pointed to the fact that the decision to increase logging in the Bialowieza Forest violated both the Polish and UE’s regulations. Not only did the Minister of Environment ignore the appeals of NGOs and scientists, but also for the first time in the history of the Bialowieza Forest, he used heavy timber-harvesting equipment. During the last few months hundreds of hectares of natural forest stands had been cut down. These damages will not be remedied within the centuries to come.

Nature organizations announce that they will keep monitoring Minister Jan Szyszko’s activity in the Bialowieza Forest, especially the implementation of last week’s UNESCO decision and today’s EC’s decision. Along with all the defenders of the Forest protesting against the logging that breaks the law and international commitents of Poland, and is also incompatible with scientific knowledge,  NGOs will aim at protection of the entire Bialowieza Forest as a national park.

For more information go to European Commission website.

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