EU’s top court says logging in Poland’s ancient forest was illegal

Poland violated European Union law by allowing widespread logging in protected areas of the ancient Białowieża forest, Europe’s highest court ruled today. The declaration settles a long-standing dispute.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in Luxembourg followed the legal opinion of its advocate-general, who said in February that Poland had breached EU law by failing to adequately protect one of Europe’s last primeval woodlands. The court’s final judgement, released on 17 April, comes into force with immediate effect. It requires the Polish government to reverse decisions that allowed logging in parts of the forest that were strictly protected from logging until 2016. Poland has previously indicated that it will comply with any decision handed to it by the ECJ.