Poland reportedly defies EU court injunction on logging in Unesco-listed forest

By bne IntelliNews August 6, 2017

Poland will not comply with the Court of Justice of the European Union’s injunction on logging in the ancient Bialowieza Forest, a newswire report claimed on August 4.

Warsaw’s stance in ignoring the injunction is unprecedented, and serves to deepen the crisis in its relationship with Brussels. The European Commission said last week that it may add the issue to the ongoing rule of law investigation should Poland continue logging.

Poland's logging in the forest, which is a remnant of the immense primeval woodland that once stretched across the European Plain, has raised domestic and international outrage this year. However, Warsaw claims the work is necessary to tame a spruce beetle outbreak, and is in line with the EU’s nature protection laws.

The commission took Warsaw to court in mid-July. An injunction was issued by the European Court of Justice later that month demanding logging stop immediately.

In a response sent to the court, Poland said logging would continue as a protection measure, PAP reports. The response would not be made public, the Polish ministry of environment said earlier last week.

Poland is also reported to claim that halting the logging would worsen the state of protection of habitats in the Bialowieza Forest, leading to an environmental damage worth PLN3.2bn (€750mn), PAP wrote.

The conflict over the ancient forest adds to the numerous battle fronts already open between Warsaw and Brussels. Poland is already under European Commission scrutiny for tampering with its judiciary – which the commission says is against the EU’s principle of the rule of law - and refusing to take in migrants under the commission-devised allocation scheme aimed at easing the migration crisis in southern EU.





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