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CJEU, judgment on Polish forests. European Commission’s complaint against Poland

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The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that nature conservation organizations should have the right to challenge forest management plans in court. The case concerned a complaint against the Polish authorities by the European Commission.

The accusations of the European Commission against Poland concerned violations of the “provisions of the directive on the protection of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora and the directive on the protection of wild birds by introducing into national law provisions according to which forest management conducted on the basis of good practice does not violate any provisions on nature protection pursuant to the above-mentioned directives”.

The Commission’s second allegation concerns the inability of environmental protection organizations to challenge forest management plans to court.

Court of Justice of the European UnionShutterstock

Polish authorities lose before the CJEU

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“The Tribunal came to the conclusion that the presumption introduced into the Act on Forests, according to which forest management carried out in accordance with the requirements of good practice does not violate the provisions on nature protection, is tantamount to allowing derogation, in a general way, from the provisions implementing the Polish law [unijnej – red.] directives,” he said Court of Justice of the European Union.

He added that “this is incompatible with the obligation imposed on Member States to establish strict protection of animal and bird species, as well as to take measures to protect natural habitats and habitats of species.”

The decision indicated that “in the opinion of the Court, Polish law (…) does not meet the conditions set out in the above-mentioned directives, which should be observed by Member States if, by way of exception, they intend to introduce derogations from solutions adopted in EU law”.

Poland lets go. Illustrative photoTVN24

CJEU on forest management plans and the possibility of going to court

“The Tribunal took the position that a forest management plan may correspond to the concept of a plan or project that may have a significant impact on this area (…). This necessitates the possibility of submitting a request to the court to examine, in terms of formal substantive, the legality of forest management plans forest” – indicated the Court of Justice of the European Union.

At the same time, the Court recalled that access to a court must meet the requirements of clarity and precision and may not be subject to additional criteria.

Main photo source: TVN24



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