Tag Archives: Warsaw

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.”

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.

Trump challenges Europe on its will to survive

The US President Donald Trump addressed a congregation in Poland with a highly political speech raising the rhetoric questions on the will for survival of the Western civilization at risk facing the hostile forces of Islamic terrorism.

At the start of a four-day trip to Europe, the US president gave a speech a in Warsaw underlining that the will to defend the values, and carry on traditions, protect its borders, is essential to the European civilization.

 

“As the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail,” Trump said at the site of the 1944 uprising against the Nazis. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the west has the will to survive.”

President’s Trump speech was received with great enthusiasm by Polish public amid their argument with the EU on relocation of migrants from Italy and Greece. The idea of defending the borders of Western civilization is a concept, shared by many Europeans, concerned by effects of mass migration on the safety and security of their homelands.

Poland refuses concept of multispeed EU

 

Today Poland promised to launch ‘hard talks’ at the European Union’s anniversary at Rome informal summit end of this week.  Jaroslaw Kaczynski,  Polish political heavy-weight, said  that Warsaw will not bow to any form of a multi-speed Europe.

The March 25 EU summit marking the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which paved the way for European integration, is supposed to issue a joint declaration of the EU27, without the UK, proposing a new concept of common future.

The debate on mulit-speed Europe is not new, but this time it looks it will become a reality, with more euro zone leaders considering the positive effects of this approach, allowing those who are eager to move faster,  without the whole bloc following suit.

EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker, who presented options for reforming the bloc to be discussed at the Rome summit, also has spoken positively of some states pushing ahead more quickly with integration.

“We cannot accept any announcements of a two-speed Europe,” Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the governing eurosceptic Law and Justice Party (PiS), told the weekly wSieci.

“This would mean either pushing us out of the European Union or downgrading us to an inferior category of members,” he said. “We must oppose that with all firmness.”

Poland was the sole opponent to the reappointment on March 9 of Donald Tusk, Kaczynski’s political nemesis, as the European Council chairman.

A new poll by the IBRiS pollster for the Rzeczpospolita daily showed that support for PiS was down 5 percentage points after Warsaw’s fight over Tusk, while the main opposition party that once had Tusk as its chief gained 10 points.

Kaczynski did not reveal any strategy or concrete steps Poland will present at the Rome summit, saying only: “We will fight for Polish interests with full determination.”

 

 

Poland risks voting rights in EU

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This week Poland a dismissed requests to implement judiciary reforms deemed essential by the European Commission to uphold the rule of law, raising Warsaw’s risks  to be stripped of its voting rights in the 28-member bloc.

The  EuropeanCommission offered Warsaw two months period starting from December to implement measures to protect the powers of the Constitutional Court, after a series of appointments and reforms appeared to weaken its independence.

The unprecedented monitoring procedure that the European Commission launched against Poland more than a year ago could end in Warsaw losing its voting rights in the 28-nation European Union in case of a reasoned proposal of one third of the EU members..

The Commission issued a statement on 21 of December 2016,  inviting the Polish Government to solve the problems identified in this Rule of Law Recommendation as a matter of urgency, within 2 months, and to inform the Commission of the steps taken to that effect. The Commission delcared to be ready to pursue a constructive dialogue with the Polish Government on the basis of this Recommendation.

If there is no satisfactory follow-up within the set time limit, the Commission has the discretion whether or not to resort to the procedure laid down in Article 7 TEU. Article 7 may also be activated by a reasoned proposal of one third of the Member States, the European Parliament or the European Commission.

The European Commission also recalled that Recommendations adopted under the Rule of Law Framework do not prevent the mechanisms set out in Article 7 TEU being activated directly, should a sudden deterioration in a Member State require a stronger reaction from the EU.