Polish Briefing 22 February, 2018 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: Revision of the gas directive will give transparency. Poland will be judged for smog

What goes on in Poland on the 22nd of February.

Buzek: The revision of the gas directive will give transparency. This is a prerequisite for security and independence

On Wednesday, February 21, a public hearing was held at the Committee on Industry, Energy and Research of the European Parliament (ITRE) on the revision of the gas directive. The change of law is to subordinate gas pipelines from third countries to the European Union to the third energy package. The meeting was chaired by prof. Jerzy Buzek, former Prime Minister and President of the European Parliament.

According to Buzek, two aspects should be considered in the discussion on gas infrastructure projects, especially those connecting the European Union with third countries. The first is political. – It should be examined whether a given project is consistent with the strategic goals of the Energy Union, especially the principle of solidarity and diversification of routes and sources of supply – he assessed. It is also important whether the project will affect the security of individual member states and the Union as a whole. – Projects that are not entirely consistent with our European energy strategy for security of supply should not receive EU support under any circumstances – emphasized the chairman.

He stressed that these are political issues that “are not necessarily the subject of today’s hearing”, which was devoted to legal aspects. This is the second aspect that Jerzy Buzek talked about, i.e. whether the project complies with EU law. To this end, he believes that full legal clarity and internal compliance of existing legislation are essential. – This is a prerequisite for our energy security and independence. Nevertheless, it is also important to ensure competition and equal conditions for all market participants, as well as long-term certainty and predictability of investments – assessed the politician.

In his opinion, this is the purpose of the gas directive proposed by the European Commission. Buzek’s statement opened a discussion on possible amendments. – It is about extending the existing EU law, especially all the provisions of the third energy package, to all gas pipelines connecting the European Union with third countries – concluded prof. Buzek. Revision of the directive may be subject to the Nord Stream 2 project law, which raises the concerns of its supporters and supports critics of the disputed gas pipeline.

The CJEU judgment on exceeding air standards in Poland will be announced today

On Thursday, the EU Court of Justice is to announce a judgement in the case against Poland for non-compliance with PM10 dust standards.

In December 2015, the European Commission accused Poland of exceeding the daily concentrations of PM10 dust and the lack of effective measures set out in air protection programs, including the lack of correct transposition of Directive 2008/50 /EC on air quality and cleaner air for Europe.

The EC argued that for at least five consecutive years, the daily PM10 limit values ​​were exceeded in 35 of the 46 zones, in which air quality measurements are made. In addition, the permissible annual concentrations were also exceeded in nine zones. The regulations set both the annual concentration limit (40 micrograms per cubic meter) and the daily value (50 micrograms per cubic meter), which must not be exceeded more than 35 times during the calendar year.

– In many Polish cities, the permissible limit of days with exceptions “is exhausted” already in the first months of the year. Although there are several sources of air pollution, such a huge exceedance of standards and persistent smog is the effect of the so-called low emission, that is, the combustion of low-quality fuels in domestic furnaces. We are still waiting for the regulation of quality of solid fuels promised a year ago by the Minister of Energy, which is likely to eliminate the most harmful for the health types of burned coal, as well as for subsequent activities under the “Clean Air” program announced by the government at the beginning of last year – comments Weronika Michalak from HEAL Polska, an organization dealing with the impact of air pollution on health.