Tag Archives: Poland

Oldest Europe’s forest endangered

Polish relevant authorities are planning to cut down 154,000 cubic meters of trees in #Bialowieza forest within the period of three years, Environment Minister Henryk Kowalczyk said this week.

The total number for three years is 154,000 cubic meters. This is 0.6 percent of all threes in the forest,” Kowalczyk said at a press conference.

The minister pointed at the “increasing fire threat” in the forest this year, underlining that 3,000 cases of forest fire had already been registered.

А year ago the European Court of Justice  (ECJ) had ruled Poland violated the EU law by ordering large-scale logging in one of Europe‘s oldest woods, the #Bialowieza forest. The government said it would respect the ruling.

Bialowieza forest has been designated a Unesco World Heritage site and is home to Europe‘s largest herd of nearly extinct bison.

The court’s decision is a defeat for the country’s conservative-led government.

The ECJ said Poland had “failed to fulfill its obligations” in directives covering the habitats of animals and birds.

While the whole of the #Bialowieza forest in Poland is protected under EU directives, only 17% of that area has been designated a national park where no logging takes place.

The court used particularly strong language to criticise Poland’s argument that it was responding to a “constant spread” of infestation of spruce bark beetles. It said the infestation “was not identified in the slightest” as a threat in the government’s 2015 management plan.

The ECJ ruling was hailed by environmental activists. The group ClientEarth said the decision was for now only on paper and called for the government in Warsaw to scrap its original approval of logging.

Poland is the biggest recipient of funds under the current EU budget.

Tusk and Warsaw trading barbs over #Polexit

President of EU Council Donald Tusk’s comments on possible #Polexit were a clear sign of “ill will and false care” towards Poland’s Government. Secretary of State for European Affairs Konrad Szymański, said,  blaming Brussels apparatchik on throwing fuel to the fire.

“This is an absurd thesis. It looks as if he is praying for this to come true, because then it would better for him to perform a political function in this country”, Szymański continued. “If this was said by a politician from the farthest corners of Peru for instance, than I would not be surprised with such an amiss evaluation.” he ironised.

Donald Tusks comments followed months of trading barbs between Warsaw and Brussels over a controversial overhaul of Poland’s judiciary, and refusal to host African and Middle East migrants.

“I have no doubt that for PiS one of the goals is to ‘free’ Polish politics from the burden of the EU” – said the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, the former Prime Minister of Poland, criticising his rival in Law and Justice (PiS) party, chaired by Jarosław Kaczyński.

https://twitter.com/World__Newz/status/951144467121299457

“I can easily imagine a situation when Poland finds itself among the net payers, then the government in Poland would feel it is time to ask Poles if they want Poland to continue being in the EU” – he continued, warning that in absence of financial benefits his countrymen would not enjoy the membership in the bloc.

“For PiS, the benefits of being in the EU relate only to the balance of payments” – Tusk claimed in a bitter attack on his political opponents.

Tusk ended on a pessimistic note, hoping Poland would remain in the EU – but would not take such a conclusion for granted. He added: “In Brussels there is still enormous hope, I won’t say trust because that’s already dead, that Poland will stay in the Union.”

EU sets Poland on pariah track

The EU executive  Commissioner and First vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans  launched an unprecedented process, triggering Article 7 of Lisbon Treaty to suspend Poland’s voting rights in the European Union after two years of dispute over judicial reforms that Brussels claims undermine Polish judiciary independence.

Polish government has three month ahead of them to abolish the judiciary reforms to avoid the so called “nuclear” opinion to lose voting rights within the EU. The visit of the incumbent Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki to Brussels is forseen in January, however so far Polish government refused to bend to EU demands, insisting on their sovereign right to carve laws.  The move of the executive is largely interpreted as ‘anti-Polish’, and there are fears it will only deepen the growing gap between Brussels and Warsaw.

Many experts interpret the Commission’s selective application of Lisbon Treaty articles to fact of the growing longng of Poland for sovreignty, led by nationalist government of ight-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party.

MEPs: Poland at “clear risk”

MEPs believe that the situation in Poland represents a “clear risk of a serious breach” of the European values, including the rule of law, enshrined in the EU Treaty. Parliament decided by 438 votes to 152 with 71 abstentions to prepare a formal request that the Council  activate the preventive mechanism provided for in  Article 7.1. If the risk persists and the Polish authorities refuse to comply with the EU recommendations, the procedure might lead to the suspension of Poland’s voting rights in the Council.

Parliament voiced specific concerns about the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary and fundamental rights. The resolution calls on the Polish authorities to uphold the common European values listed in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and in the Polish Constitution.

MEPs urge Poland:  not to proceed the new laws unless they fully guarantee the independence of the judiciary to  implement all EU Commission and Venice Commission recommendations in full; to comply with the EU Court of Justice order to “immediately suspend large-scale logging” in the ancient Białowieża forest; to respect the right of freedom of assembly; to strongly condemn the “xenophobic and fascist march that took place in Warsaw” on Saturday, 11 November 2017; and to take a firm stand on women’s rights, by providing free and accessible contraception without discrimination and making emergency contraception available without medical prescription.

MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski assesses the opinion of the majority of MEPs as “fake” news. HE is convinced Poland is “flourishing”, and current campaign is a result of a European agenda forced upon Eastern Europe.

 

 

Poland removes EU flag

No more blue flags with yellow stars during the official press-conferences of the Polish government. The newly established cabinet has replaced the EU flags by national flags.

“We are still an active EU member, but we think media talks after cabinet meetings should take place against the most beautiful background: those of white-red flags,” said Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo.

Officially Szydlo  government has not reacted about removing the EU flag. The prime minister came up with the explanation after a journalist asked for missing Eu blue with yellow stars flag.

‘Reasoned Opinion’ to Poland

The European Commission decided to send a Reasoned Opinion to Poland regarding the Polish law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation.

The Commission has carried out a thorough analysis of the response of the Polish authorities to the Letter of Formal Notice sent in July 2017  concerning the Law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation.

The European Commission maintains its position that the Polish Law is incompatible with EU law because by introducing a different retirement age for female judges (60 years) and male judges (65 years), it discriminates against individuals on the basis of gender. This is contrary to Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Directive 2006/54 on gender equality in employment.

The Commission also raises legal concerns that by giving the Minister of Justice the discretionary power to prolong the mandate of judges who have reached retirement age, as well as to dismiss and appoint Court Presidents, the independence of Polish courts will be undermined, contrary to Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) read in connection with Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The new rules allow the Minister of Justice to exert influence on individual judges through, in particular, the vague criteria for the prolongation of their mandates and the lack of a time-frame to take a decision on the prolongation, thereby undermining the principle of irremovability of judges. Also the discretionary power to dismiss and appoint Court Presidents allows the Minister of Justice to exert influence over these judges when they are adjudicating cases involving the application of EU law.

The Commission has therefore moved to the next stage of the infringement procedure. The Polish authorities now have one month to take the necessary measures to comply with this Reasoned Opinion. If the Polish authorities do not take appropriate measures, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Merkel supports EU lawsuit against Poland

Germany’s enters alongside France into a battle between the European Commission and Poland over the rule of law increasing the probability of unprecedented EU action to punish Warsaw.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week by criticized Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, showing the European Union’s executive has the firm support of its most influential member.

Poland risks a reprimand under procedures of Article 7 that have never been used before and would deal a heavy blow to its prestige, causing its isolation in the bloc and diminishing its ability to influence EU policies.

“As much as I wish for good relations with Poland — they are our neighbor and I will always strive for this given the importance of our ties — we can’t simply keep our mouth shut in order to keep the peace,” Merkel said in Berlin. “This goes to the very foundations of our cooperation within the European Union” she added.

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