EU may add logging case to rule of law proceedings against Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
The European Commission has announced that, if logging in Poland's primaeval Białowieża forest is not suspended, the matter will be included in Brussels’ rule-of-law case against Warsaw.
A European Commission spokesman said that Brussels had seen media reports of logging in the forest in spite of the European Court of Justice telling Poland to stop.
The court last Friday issued a preliminary decision ordering logging to be halted in the forest after the commission claimed Poland was breaking European Union laws, including birds and habitats directives.
On Monday, Poland’s environment ministry said it would continue to “act”, having earlier said logging was part of a fight against a European spruce bark beetle plague which was destroying the forest.
Environment Minister Jan Szyszko has said Poland would respond to the European Commission’s accusations by 4 August.
The commission recently said it was ready to trigger a formal warning by the EU if Poland dismisses or forces the retirement of Supreme Court judges.
Warsaw was given a month to address "grave concerns" over sweeping judicial changes which allegedly breached EU law.
It followed an ongoing row over the rule of law in Poland, which started shortly after the governing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) introduced sweeping changes to the country’s constitutional court.
Planned changes to the supreme court and a judicial ethics council were vetoed by Poland’s president but PiS has pledged to plough ahead with court reforms.
Poland's Law and Justice party has said sweeping changes are needed to reform an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system tainted by the communist past, accusing judges of being an elite, self-serving clique often out of touch with the problems of ordinary citizens.
But opponents have accused Law and Justice of aiming to stack courts with its own candidates and to dismantle the rule of law. (vb/pk)