Former Prime Minister Beata Szydło has criticized the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling giving environmentalists the right to question forestry management decisions, stating that it has less to do with protecting nature and is directed at giving foreign organizations the right to block decisions.
The ECJ ruling sided with the European Commission, which alleged that Poland’s forest management law violates the EU animal and bird settlement directive and that environmental organizations should have the right to legally challenge plans for managing forestry resources.
Szydło, a former conservative prime minister, said that the ECJ ruling has little to do with environmental protection and everything to do with the desire of foreign organizations to meddle in Polish affairs.
“Foreign organizations demanded from the European Commission that they should have influence over Polish forestry and the ECJ has given them such power, which effectively will block Polish decisions,” she said.
Poland’s forestry authority, the State Forests, also commented on the ECJ ruling, stating that the “forestry economy secures thousands of jobs and provides three percent of Polish GDP.” It went on to explain that forestry management in Poland is the domain of professional keepers with decades of experience in providing for sustainable management, supplying the wood industry with the highest quality of raw material at stable prices while ensuring consistent growth in forested areas.
Michał Guzowski, spokesman for the State Forests, posted on Twitter that the European Commission will not be allowed to destroy Polish forestry. “Germany almost has no forests, whereas we have more and more of them. A German may not make any legal challenge, but here in Poland we are expected to allow obsessive litigators to destroy our forestry. We won’t allow that to happen,” he said.
The Polish forestry authority has also pointed out that the regulations, which had been reported to the commission by the environmental organizations, no longer apply and that updated regulations now protect the environment above and beyond the regulations required by EU legislation.
The authority said that Polish law does not deny civil society access to the planning procedure for the management of forested land and that 90 percent of suggestions made by non-governmental organizations and local governments have been incorporated into those plans.