Monday

9th Dec 2019

Poland backs down on controversial roadworks

  • The protected area is home to the world's only population of aquatic warblers, as well as rare eagles, lynx, wolves and wild orchids (Photo: EUobserver)

The Polish government has for the moment backed down in a standoff with the European Commission over a planned highway route through an EU nature protected area.

Polish prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski told Polish Radio that construction work, scheduled to start Wednesday (1 August) on a 17km elevated highway section across the Rospuda River Valley, has been postponed until the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rules on the issue.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

"The work in the Rospuda valley will not start," Mr Kaczynski the PR1 public radio on Tuesday (30 July). He added however that work would still be carried out on other parts of the highway outside of the environmentally protected area.

"We simply have to show patience because I wanted to convince our partners in the European Commission on this matter," he said, a day after the commission stepped up the pressure by asking the ECJ to impose an injunction on construction in the Rospuda Valley in northeast Poland.

The Polish leader insisted that Warsaw would eventually win the legal challenge started by Brussels in March this year against the particular part of the highway, saying that the he did not believe the steps taken by the commission were based on sound legal grounds.

The commission said on Monday (30 July) that it would have been "unprecedented" if Poland had chosen to continue the roadworks after being presented with an injunction to stop, and Warsaw could have faced daily fines.

EU-protected

The construction of the bypass near Augustów in north-east Poland – now put on hold – is set to form a section of the Via Baltica – or European route E67 - which is part of an international highway system linking Warsaw with Helsinki via the Baltic states.

The bypass through the Rospuda valley was planned to alleviate the town of Augustów of the over 4,000 trucks that pass through the town centre every day.

Although the Via Baltica is EU-funded, the bypass itself would not receive EU funds because the Rospuda valley is protected under the EU's Natura 2000 conservation scheme and is recognised by Brussels as having special environmental interest.

Feature

Russia makes big promises to Arctic peoples on expansion

The Arctic future conference kicked off with optimistic presentations by ministers and officials of the Russian government — but also a burst of scepticism from representatives of those actually living in Russia's Arctic and Far East regions.

Agenda

UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK

EU leaders will try to agree on the 2050 emission-free target - but they will deeply disagree on EU spending over the next seven years. Meanwhile the UK will elect its new political leadership.

Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres

A trend has emerged over the past few months where desperate people are paying to get locked up in Libyan detention centres to escape the conflict and with the hope they stand a better chance of getting resettled to Europe.

Magazine

Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee offers a snapshot of the European "state of mind", says its chair Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar. Its biggest challenge will be getting member states to unblock the EU asylum package.

News in Brief

  1. Greece denies access to fair asylum process, report says
  2. Report: Self-regulation of social media 'not working'
  3. Turkey: Greek expulsion of Libyan envoy 'outrageous'
  4. Merkel coalition may survive, says new SPD co-leader
  5. Von der Leyen Ethiopia visit a 'political statement'
  6. Over 5,500 scientists ask EU to protect freshwater life
  7. Iran defies EU and UN on ballistic missiles
  8. Committee of the Regions: bigger budget for Green Deal

Agenda

UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK

EU leaders will try to agree on the 2050 emission-free target - but they will deeply disagree on EU spending over the next seven years. Meanwhile the UK will elect its new political leadership.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Russia makes big promises to Arctic peoples on expansion
  2. UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK
  3. Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres
  4. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  5. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  6. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  7. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  8. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us