Polish conservatives slam EU attempt to take control of forests

Photo: G. Adamczyk
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

A committee of the European Parliament responsible for the environment has proposed that member states should lose their power of competence over the management of forestation. The EU parliament’s committee is proposing a treaty change that would transfer these powers away from being the domain of the member states to being shared with Brussels. Any such treaty change would have to be ratified by all member states and agreed upon by the European Council. 

In an interview with the portal wPolityce.pl, Elżbieta Rafalska, a former labor minister and currently a conservative MEP, has said that forests are a key part of both Poland’s heritage and economy and should not be controlled by Brussels. She said she believes that the proposal coming from Brussels is yet another example of EU institutions attempting to increase their powers at the expense of member states and goes against current EU treaties.

Rafalska said that the Polish model of having forests managed by a state corporation has proven to be successful and helped maintain control of a key resource for the public. This finding is confirmed by a Social Changes poll for wPolityce.pl, showing that 77 percent want forests to remain in public hands instead of being handed over to the EU.

This is the second time the Polish public has reacted nervously to proposals to change the status quo regarding the country’s forest and forestation policy. The first time Poles expressed opposition to a change in the country’s forest policy was when the country’s liberals considered privatizing forested land. 

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) have defended the public ownership model of managing forests, arguing that Poland’s high degree of forestation helps to absorb CO2 emissions. However, some environmentalists have attacked conservatives over excessive logging in protected forests. 

Elżbieta Rafalska indicated that the European Parliament represents the vanguard of European federalism and attempts to make every area of policy the responsibility of EU institutions rather than EU member states. She stated that this tendency to go beyond EU treaties must be resisted and that any such proposals threaten the unity of Europe, which is so badly needed amidst the Ukraine crisis.

The conservative MEP says that she would be worried if the EU, which is dominated by environmentalist lobbies, seized control of more powers. She accused the EU of making climate change and environmentalism a new religious ideology where the green agenda eclipses common sense. 

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