Habitat Oder and Haff


Communication from the European Commission: No EU funding for the container port in Świnoujście

In the context of the planned container port in Świnoujście, the former Polish Minister for Maritime Economy, Marek Gróbarczyk, announced in a number of Polish media that the construction of the container port’s new fairway would be subsidised with EU funds. On 12 September 2023, I submitted an urgent written question on this issue to the European Commission. In its response, which you may read here, the European Commission states that funds for parts of the container port project have neither been applied for nor approved.

My statement

“Contrary to public statements made by former Polish Minister for the Maritime Economy, Marek Gróbarczyk, the European Commission has now confirmed in response to my written enquiry that neither the construction of the container terminal nor the fairway will receive EU funding. The Commission was only asked for an opinion under the Habitats Directive. The news about the subsidies was therefore just a feint by the former PiS government to give the controversial project greater legitimacy. As the project with its expected environmental impact runs counter to the objectives of the Green Deal and given that the environmental impact assessment was rated as inadequate by experts, it is a good thing that no EU funding is being provided. When reviewing the documents, the Commission should also examine the arguments in favour of an additional fairway. For the existing ports in Świnoujście, this fairway is not necessary to the extent envisaged.

I will continue to follow the process, but I am pleased that with the new Polish government, which is committed to stronger environmental protection and the rule of law, there is an opportunity for cooperation based on facts and mutual trust – even on previously contentious issues such as the container port or the works on the Oder river. With this in mind, I hope that the state government has exercised its right of appeal in the ongoing cross-border environmental impact assessment. This would enable a revision of the environmental notice. Prime Minister Schwesig’s inaugrual visit to Poland in February as President of the Federal Council would be a good opportunity to discuss with the new government how security, economic, tourism and environmental interests can be reconciled in the Szczecin Metropolitan Region. We – in Germany and Poland – can only benefit from cross-border cooperation on this basis.”

Background information on the Świnoujście container port

In the ongoing cross-border environmental impact assessment procedure for the construction and operation of the container port in the outer port of Swinoujscie, the state government of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was promised during the consultation talks on 20 September that various documents would be submitted later, such as the plans for the modified access channel. They have not been published to date. In addition, the German side was given a deadline of 20 October to submit the countersigned protocol, without which there is no agreed result of the cross-border procedure. Despite these unresolved questions, the Polish Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection (RDOS) issued the environmental notice to the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaport Authority on 10 October, thereby greenlighting the plans. The announcement can be found here. The original deadline for objection was 8 November.

On 12 September, I submitted an urgent written question on the alleged EU funding of the fairway to the European Commission. On 6 November, I personally questioned EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius on the issue. In March 2022, I published a study on the environmental impact of the container port together with MEP Helmut Scholz.

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