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A committee in the European Parliament has recommended that issues relating to forests, land and water management should no longer be the competence of member states alone. The proposal has raised a public outcry among Poles.
Today, the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee has proposed changes to the European Union Treaty. The proposal would take issues such as forests, land management, and spatial and water governance out of the competence of EU member states.
Representatives of the Polish government have already reacted to these reports.
“The Government Plenipotentiary for Forestry and Hunting and the State Forests strongly opposes the transfer of forestry from national competencies to shared competencies with the European Union. This is the plan of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. In the opinion of experts from the State Forests, the EU project will have negative consequences for the Polish economy,” informed Edward Siarka, Government Plenipotentiary for Forestry and Hunting.
In a post published on Twitter, he stressed that “the European Parliament seeks to centrally control forests from Brussels through amendments to the Lisbon Treaty” and this is “another decision against the sovereignty of Member States in the EU”.
State Forests spokesperson Michal Gzowski also commented on the matter on Twitter.
“According to the Lisbon Treaty, forestry is decided exclusively by the member state. Now the @Europarl_EN commission wants to hand over the management of Polish forests to EU officials. The century-old experience of our foresters will be thrown in the bin and the decision will be made by commissioners who have never seen a forest,” he commented.
Furthermore, citing experts, he added that the EU’s climate policy means a large reduction in the supply of wood, which would result in a spike in the price of this material. And this would mean an increase in imports and massive deforestation outside the EU. As a consequence, producers would replace wood with non-renewable raw materials such as plastic and concrete.
In Poland, about 80 per cent of forests belong to the state, which sustainably manages these resources. In this respect, Poland is unique in Europe. The changes imposed by Brussels could result in the collapse of the Polish wood industry, weaken the entire economy and impoverish society.