Poles furious as Brussels eyes Poland's forests
In Poland, the general public and politicians have firmly rejected the European Union's plan that would curtail the power of member states over a significant part of forestry.
The accession treaty stipulated that the competence of a country to manage its forests belongs exclusively to the country concerned,” said Polish MP Dariusz Bak, who also chairs the relevant parliamentary committee. The European Union is once again trying to gain powers that previously belonged to the member states, this time in forestry.
The environmental protection committee of the European Parliament has recently voted on amendments to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Forests would be transferred from national competence to so-called shared competence.
The representatives of state-owned forests, along with the politicians of the Polish United Right in the government, the country’s parliament and also in the European Parliament, have sounded the alarm and warned of the dangers of such a move. In a recent interview, Dariusz Bak stressed that they firmly opposed to what the European Union is trying to force on the Poles. He said.
I do not know where this idea came from and in whose interest it is, but it is certainly not in Poland’s interest. I am against this regulation that the EU is trying to impose on us, and also the fact that it wants to lay its hands again on Polish national property.”
Polish ruling party MEP Elzbieta Rafalska also spoke about the case. She said that forestry is an important part of the national economy, and as such it must remain the responsibility of the given state, that is, Poland. A country’s forests are not part of the EU economy, she added.
“I can say that we are dealing with another attack on the competences of the member states. This time it is something that is not and will never be accepted in Poland… an attempt to appropriate and question the rights of Poles to their forests,”
Rafalska stated. And indeed, a public opinion survey found that Polish citizens also reject the EU proposal, with 77 per cent of the respondents saying that they do not support the idea. They believe that the Polish state should have control over the Polish forests. Ms Rafalska noted that
“The recent corruption scandal that erupted in Brussels shows that you can actually pay for certain things, which calls into question the purity of the intentions of all NGOs”.
These NGOs are lobbying heavily to remove forest management from the hands of member states. The Polish government has stated on numerous occasions that
shared competence requires amendments to the Treaty and the consent of all member states. The Polish government’s position is clear: as long as the government of the Law and Justice party is in office, there is no Polish consent in this regard and there will never be.
The idea of a uniform forest policy applying across the bloc is fundamentally wrong, Polish experts say. Europe has a wide variety of forest types, forest management practices and associated biodiversity patterns that require context-specific forest management. Only forestry based on traditional forest culture will help preserve elements of indigenous nature. After all, no one knows Polish forests better than Polish foresters, practicing sustainable forest management based on more than 100 years of experience passed on from one generation to the next.
Once again, Brusselites are proposing solutions without assessing the impacts of their introduction, experts say, stressing that their introduction would be tragic for Poland’s economy, leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and thus to the impoverishment of society.