Alerts Energy GAS Infrastructure / Innovations LNG 20 December, 2023 7:35 am   

Germans fight against Polish port and resort to disinformation

Terminal-kontenerowy-port-szczecin Container terminal design. Picture by Port Szczecin

German opponents of the construction of a container port in Poland’s Świnoujście yet again disseminate inaccurate and erroneous information to the press about their actions and the new terminal. This time they claim to be fighting for the rule of law.

Rainer Sauerwein, president of the Lebensraum Vorpommern Citizens’ Initiative, sent to the media a press release which also landed on desk thanks to our correspondent. The statement says that the cross-border procedure as part of the environmental impact assessment conducted by the Regional Environmental Protection Agency (RDOŚ) in Szczecin has not been finalized and instead, as the German ecologists claim, it was closed by a unilateral decision by Poland. From their perspective, the environmental impact on the area in Germany and on the sea has not been sufficiently taken into account.

Moreover, according to the organization, German environmental organizations were allegedly not granted the right to speak in the Polish-German consultations. The statement also informs about the alleged steps taken by opponents of the construction of the container port in Świnoujście. “In order to prevent the mass destruction of our coast, the Lebensraum Vorpommern citizens’ initiative, with the support of the municipality of Heringsdorf, decided to initiate legal action against the Polish environmental impact assessment and file a complaint before a Polish administrative court,” Lebensraum Vorpommern said.

An excerpt containing information about the complaint filed before the Polish administrative court was subsequently obtained by German public media, including the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (GDR). The municipality of Heringsdorf was equally uncritical about the reliability of information provided by the activists. “From now on, the Citizens’ Initiative and the municipality of Heringsdorf will join forces to push for compliance with the lawful procedure for the planned container port, ” wrote Mayor Laura Isabelle Marisken, explaining that the municipality unanimously decided on a cooperation agreement with BI Lebensraum Vorpommern. Julian Barlen, chairman of the SPD parliamentary group in the state parliament, also spoke about the alleged judicial complaint filed by activists during a press conference on December 11.

However, reliable information on this subject can only be obtained through official channels. “The Regional Directorate of Environmental Protection in Szczecin does not have knowledge about the BI Lebensraum MV organizations’s complaint to the Administrative Court in connection with the planned project called Construction of a Container Terminal at the External Port in Świnoujście. Whereas regarding the appeal on the environmental decision issued on 10.10.2023, […] the case files on the above mentioned project have been forwarded to the General Directore of Environmental Protection for consideration,” RDOŚ told reporters.

This means that the Lebensraum Vorpommern Citizens’ Initiative has lodged an appeal with the Directorate-General for Environmental Protection, which is currently being reviewed. In other words, no complaint has been filed with a Polish court and no case is pending, instead the party appealed to a higher institution, which is a regular administrative practice. The information about the appeal to the GDOŚ was also confirmed by the Polish law firm representing the Lebensraum Vorpommern Association in Poland. has obtained another confirmation about the appeals procedure to GDOŚ from the Economy Ministry of Mecklenburg Vorpommern, which took part in the consultations. However, the Ministry notes that the analysis of the impact on the environment is not complete.

“The procedure for issuing an environmental decision is not considered complete, since the decision is not yet final and can still be appealed. The Economy Ministry has no knowledge of any legal action by the Lebensraum Vorpommern citizens ‘ initiative,” the ministry said.

Aleksandra Fedorska