Europe on the ground


Container terminal in Świnoujście​: Petition in the Committee

A container terminal is being planned in Świnoujście​, in the middle of the nature reserve Natura 2000, which is subject to strict environmental protection regulations. The area is only four kilometres away from the German border. I have kept an eye on the project for quite some time now, and support the resistance against the project that has formed on the Polish and German side both in Brussels and on the ground.

The citizens’ initiative “Lebensraum Vorpommern e.V.“, for example, has submitted a petition to the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament, rightly complaining that the Polish construction project will have a massive impact on the environment both on land and in the marine ecosystem of the Pomeranian Bay.

In the context of a meeting of the Petitions Committee, I had the opportunity to speak about the project.

In doing so, I clarified the following:

  • For a nature reserve which is protected under Natura 2000, it is mandatory to comply with EU legislation. This also includes the drawing up of an environmental impact assessment by the Polish authorities before any construction activities can start. This assessment is still pending; the European Commission must therefore demand it from Poland without any delay.
  • Poland is obliged by contract to involve its German neighbour in the planning of the container terminal. However, Germany has not yet been consulted. This must now happen as soon as possible.
  • We have seen in the past that the Polish government has often simply created faits accomplis, destroying environment in clear violation of any rules and regulations, despite objections from EU institutions or citizens. This is why the Commission must act quickly to prevent irreversible damage to nature.

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Only on the basis of the required expert assessment and when all the facts are on the table, the impact on nature and the environment – and thus the entire construction project – can be evaluated.

Consequently, the Committee rightly decided to leave the petititon open. The petitition will also be dealt with in the “Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety“.

I will continue to follow the project with a critical eye and to demand compliance with EU requirements.

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