Container terminal in Świnoujście: Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania must take action now

In Świnoujście, at the coast of the Baltic Sea, the Polish government is planning to build a container terminal in the middle of the European protected nature reserve Natura 2000. Last September, I went there and agreed to work with my Polish colleagues to promote environmental protection in the area, which is also the basis for local tourism. A lot has happened since then:

  • At my suggestion, my Polish colleague Tomasz Aniśko, a member of the Sejm (one of the two chambers of the Polish National Assembly), sent a request to the Polish government, which resulted in a statement from the Ministry of Infrastructure.
  • The Ostsee-Zeitung, a newspaper from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, received information from the port operating company in Świnoujście and was thus also able to shed some light on the matter.

One thing becomes clear from the information received: those responsible in Poland are placing the full responsibility for the port construction on the future private investor (who is to be determined by tender by 28 January). This also concerns local participation procedures and the environmental impact assessment required by EU legislation. The assessment ultimately decides on the compatibility of the construction project with EU nature and environmental protection laws and thus on the project as a whole. It has still not been finalised. At this point, Polish policy-makers should not shirk their responsibilities by referring to a private company.

The answer from the Warsaw ministry also shows that the Polish government believes that the German side will not be affected by the construction of the container port ─ although

  • according to the same ministry, the port is to become the largest container port in the Baltic Sea
  • the construction site is located in the immediate vicinity of German communities and seaside resorts on Usedom
  • the expected impact on people and the environment from increased shipping and transport traffic will be enormous.

The state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and in particular Patrick Dahlemann as Secretary of State for Western Pomerania, must therefore act now: they must enter into an exchange with those responsible in Poland and ultimately with the investor, and demand German participation!

If the construction project is implemented in the dimension advertised, the damage caused to the environment will be massive ─ and probably irreversible. This applies to both the seaside and the landside. In addition, there will be the impact on tourism on Usedom, which is based on unspoiled nature.

The Petitions Committee of the European Parliament recently accepted the petition no. 1018/2020 of an Usedom citizens’ initiative and asked the European Commission to examine the matter. In addition, the Committee on the Environment and Public Health and the Committee on Food Safety will also deal with the petition. The petitioners are asking the EU to stop the construction of the port.

I will continue to follow the developments very critically.

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