Logging dispute: Minister argues Polish case in EU court
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland's environment minister has faced a top European court to argue against the European Commission's claims that Poland breached a ban on logging in the primaeval Białowieża forest.
Photo: Jacek Karczmarz/Wikimedia Commons
Speaking after the hearing, Environment Minister Jan Szyszko claimed the European Commission's complaints resulted from their lack of understanding of the issue.
He said he proved to the Court of Justice of the European Union that Warsaw understood the terms of the Natura2000 programme that protects the Białowieża forest in northeastern Poland.
Szyszko said the trees that were being cut down were damaged by spruce bark beetle and posed a potential threat to public safety.
But European Commission representative Katarzyna Hermann said the logging was purely for “aesthetic and commercial” reasons, according to the IAR news agency.
She added that the ban was imperative because logging posed a serious risk of irreversible damage and loss of valuable bird species and habitats.
Agata Szafraniuk, an environmental activist with the Prawnicy dla Ziemi (Lawyers for the Earth) organisation, said 100-year-old trees were cut down 100 metres from hiking trails, so Szyszko's claims that he was protecting the public were exaggerated.
The ban on logging was issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union in July, at the European Commission's request.
A 15-judge panel of the Court of Justice is to decide whether the ban was broken or whether Poland's logging was justified. (vb/pk)