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Polish ancient forest ‘deserves help, not punishment’: environment minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 05.12.2017 12:54
Poland’s primaeval Białowieża Forest is “unique globally” and “deserves help, not punishment,” the country’s environment minister said on Tuesday.
Polish Environment Minister Jan Szyszko. Photo: PAP/Artur ReszkoPolish Environment Minister Jan Szyszko. Photo: PAP/Artur Reszko

Jan Szyszko was speaking to the Polish public radio broadcaster as his ministry was expected to respond to the European Commission over contested activities in the ancient forest in Poland's northeast.

On November 20, a top European Union court said that Poland could face fines of EUR 100,000 (PLN 423,000) a day if it failed to comply with a ban on logging in the Białowieża Forest.

The European Court of Justice reiterated its July decision that Poland must immediately stop logging in the forest, pending the court’s final decision on the European Commission's claim that cutting down trees in the Białowieża Forest violated the European Union’s birds and habitats protection rules.

The EU court at the time gave Warsaw 15 days to prove to Brussels that it was complying with the decision.

Szyszko told Polish Radio on Tuesday that “only activities aimed at protecting the site’s biodiversity” and those designed to “ensure public safety” were being carried out in the Białowieża Forest. He argued that these measures were in line with the European Court of Justice’s ruling.

Szyszko has previously said that Poland cannot be fined for logging in the Białowieża Forest because its forest management policies are not in violation of EU laws.

The Luxembourg-based court is scheduled to further review the case on December 12.


Source: IAR

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