INTERVIEW. The campaign against Polish foresters and forest management. Starosta of Radom: Engineering over people’s consciousness continues

Why did the councilors of the Radom district decide to adopt a resolution on supporting the government in the matter of forests, thus expressing their opposition to the transfer of competences to the European Union?

Waldemar Trelka: Radom district has 40,000 hectares of forest – forests account for 27 percent of the entire area, so it’s more or less the same proportions as in the whole country. The assessment of movements in the European Parliament and in the committees is of course a subjective matter, but I judge it in such a way that if we do not start informing the public about it in a conscious way, one day it may turn out that jurisdiction over one-third of Poland de facto, including almost 30 percent of the district of Radom, is beyond us, because the arrangement and management of forests will pass into foreign hands. In my opinion, responsibility will blur, competence will blur, and if there is no single owner, in this case the State Forests and Poland as such, these forests will be increasingly neglected over time. Forest management will be more and more chaotic, we will lose real sovereignty as a state, as well as a district. I think that was the main reason, because – I repeat again: this is a subjective and evaluative matter – I have no illusions about the policies of the main countries in Europe. As we know, Germany explicitly entered into the coalition agreement the plan of domination in Europe as a plan which is mainly to serve its interests. I understand these interests, but I do not agree with them and I think we should build awareness on this matter. If awareness increases, I am convinced that most Poles will not agree to it.

It’s not like the forests are just a place of work. It is not that forests are just a business, but forests are also relaxation, they are also a history that is part of our identity. I want to be in a strong Europe, as a strong country that is a subject, not an object, and therefore cares and fights for its interests on this difficult market. Because only interests matter. All these stories about friendship, about cooperation, about solidarity, of course, sound nice in the mouths of German or French politicians, but they are used only when they serve their interests. If they serve other interests, then there is argument of force and brutal over-voting. Today we are still a state that has powers in the form of a veto, but as we know, this is already very much circumvented today. What will happen in a few years? I wish I was wrong, but if there was a change of power in Poland, a change of the prime minister, then the next government that has already ruled in previous years – we know what we are talking about, in my opinion in a formal way, or in a very soft way, but the effect would be the same – it would relinquish actually the right of veto, of course, justifying it with all sorts of stories about how Europe is indecisive, how it needs to be made more decisive. These are all fairy tales for small children, and if we are to count, we must have property, we must have autonomy and we must take care of our own Polish interests. Being in the European Union makes sense from the point of view of Poland and Poles if and only if it serves our development. Such forceful and creeping appropriation of competences by the European Union will ultimately lead not to strengthening the Union, but to its destruction. Those who teach democracy to the whole world will be to blame, and in fact, in this country to the west of us, they caused two wars and a few more things could be mentioned. I am not saying this to be nasty, but to finally get rid of illusions, not to be, as they used to say, a “useful idiot” in Europe, but to be a proud country with smart people who have no complexes. I think that this time must be used very much so that there are no such attempts to dominate one-third of the country from the other side. But for this you need a strong government, a strong prime minister, patriotic people connected with power, but also MEPs who should be assertive, and not beg your pardon squeezing berets in the waiting room and enjoy the fact that they can put a jacket on someone’s back.

In order to transfer competences regarding forests, a change of treaties is needed, and for a change of treaties, unanimity of all governments of all Member States is needed. The position of the Polish government is clear here. There is no consent to transfer these competences.

Today there is not. Correct.

How important is the decision you made in this situation? I understand that this is the support of the Polish government in this matter.

Yes. As the local government of the Radom district, we adopted such a resolution with an appeal to other local governments – municipalities, districts, voivodeships – to adopt similar positions. In my opinion, this will discipline the members of the European Parliament – the elections to the European Parliament are in a year’s time – and make people aware that if they want to be in the European Parliament, they must take into account the interests of Poland. Such voices in local governments, if they were multiplied, I think they would realize that their fate, career and mandates depend on the so-called ordinary people. Such a bottom-up action, if supported by many more positions, would sober up at least some of these European elites. And if it didn’t sober up, in a year’s time they could simply be replaced with people who first represent Polish interests, such positions, decisions or resolutions that guarantee Poland’s sovereignty, and are not ready to relinquish this sovereignty, because I agree with you that in order to waive it, you need to take the next step in the form of resigning from the veto. It’s not impossible. It is not so obvious that this veto will be preserved, because today there are various ways to circumvent it, and this happens in smaller matters, such as the rule of law. It has been spread over all legislation, over the judiciary. While Prime Minister Morawiecki signed the agreement on Recovery Fund for Poland, he meant and we all meant – in fact, decision-makers in Europe confirmed this – that it would concern only European funds, and Poland, then and now, is a model when it comes to spending these measures. As it turned out, this was extended to usurp the right to interfere in all matters related to the judiciary. Such examples could be multiplied.

For example, Mr. Jarubas – a man who is from the Polish People’s Party, it would seem that he understands the countryside, it would seem that he understands forests – is voting for starting a discussion on transferring these competences to Europe. Start a discussion, that is, in fact, move this small pebble that may start an avalanche. After all, this Fit for 55 package is also something that if we had been told ten years ago that there would be such restrictions and such self-limitations, where we are told in Europe and in Poland that we are able to make the planet Earth cleaner, then we would not believe. Of course, it will be cleaner, but the permille that Europe has an impact on when it comes to pollution is negligible, because the largest polluters, such as China, the USA, India or, above all, Russia, i.e. the vast majority of countries, do nothing about it. You know what it’s all about – it’s about money. The Germans – I won’t say anything revealing – already have an idea how to prove that, for example, nuclear energy is harmful because it affects gas emissions. Well, it is not, but they have an idea, just like they had an idea about cars, because in the end they pushed through such solutions that will give them an advantage in terms of technology, production and business. In a dozen or so years, as we know, it will not be possible to buy a car with an internal combustion engine. It’s a creeping eco-dictatorship, but it’s really about big money. This eco-dictatorship is supported by various lobbyists from the east, but not only from the east. After all, it is no secret how big scandals, how much money big lobbyists from both Qatar and Russia are involved in this. And what? Do they care about the environment? Of course not. It’s about brutal combat and brutal business.

If this bottom-up pressure were widespread, I think that there would be some tremors in the heads and hearts of MEPs, “whether they will definitely elect me” for the next term. Poland is an increasingly powerful, changing country that counts more and more on the market, that demands its rights, sits at the main table. This does not please those who have already dealt the cards and want others to work on them. It’s all about who will work for whom, who will have a higher margin in terms of products and goods. Poland wants to play in a different league and this is clearly not in the interests of Germany, Western Europe, it is an obstacle in making deals with Russia, which for some reason turned over the table. I don’t think the Germans themselves understand it, but to this day they stick to this version like a drunken to the fence, because their calculators are still dominated by the belief that this is still a business in which they have invested and want to pursue it for reasons incomprehensible to me. Only the ballot paper, as long as these elections are still democratic and secret, can somehow inhibit and eliminate those who are really Europeans, whatever that means, and do not feel a connection with Poland, and what is worse, some are even oikophobes, i.e. they hate their own country who fed them, who gave them their seats and which they should represent, which unfortunately is not the case.

This transfer of competences to the European Union regarding forests, which absolutely cannot be allowed, would have very measurable consequences in the form of not only a blow to the wood industry, but also to local governments themselves. Then, with every development plan, you would have to go to Brussels, and we all know how slowly Brussels mills grind, and it seems that these local governments would be paralyzed at this point. Am I wrong?

You are absolutely right. There is a ruling of the CJEU that every European will be able to question the forest management plan, for example in the Radom district. Of course, he can do it ineffectively, he can question very wise and sensible provisions, but all this will cause delays and lack of decision-making. The developmental paralysis of a given forest, a given region will become a fact and it is also agreed that this should happen. I absolutely agree with you. I confirm what you said just now, that this type of action will make Polish local governments less and less important. As a district administrator, I also have certain responsibilities over the so-called peasant forests, i.e. private. Fortunately, there are the State Forests, it is a decent, solid company that gives an income of 2.5-3.5 percent GDP. This is huge money. But mostly facts. After the war, we know how forests were degraded, and also during the partitions. Our forests were devastated under all three partitions, and the war finished them off even more. Currently, the forest cover has increased by 10 percent, and the mass of forests is constantly growing, and all the fake news that Poland cuts down forests on mass is nothing but a lie. The mass of wood in Polish forests is increasing year by year, not less. There is even a certain limit where it has to be stopped. In the same way, culling is not to kill poor animals, but to preserve the biosystem, so that one species does not increase its population at the expense of another.

Forest management conducted by the State Forests is conducted in a wise and even manner. Professor Jan Szyszko, an excellent professional, left behind a huge scientific achievements, a lot of his pupils, pupils who today try to explain obvious things, but fake news, lies, manipulations make “useful idiots” or eco-terrorists consciously or unconsciously repeat various lies. One such lie is what I heard from a Civic Platform MP – for pity’s sake I will not mention his name – who said that forests must be placed under the jurisdiction of the European Union because we, Poles, are about to destroy these forests in the West, and these are Germans they planted and these are their forests (I am talking about the lands that went to Poland after World War II and the shifting of borders). Two weeks ago I heard such an argument! If a Pole says that, he is either under the influence of dangerous substances, or he is an ordinary traitor, or an intellectual dilettante, because a reasonable person does not say such things. Such things are said in public space. Not to mention Mrs. Ochojska and other statements. We can smile and say that these are one-sided statements. No, this is a well-thought-out, anti-Polish policy. But if our opponents, competitors do it, I understand it, but if Poles with a Polish mandate do it, it’s a scandal.

Speaking of fake news, one of the last documents voted by the European Parliament included a change in the definition of forest degradation. It turns out that the term “forest degradation” is currently defined by the European Union for what Polish foresters do, i.e. planting and conducting sustainable forest management.

And believe me, repeated a hundred times in fifty places, still the so-called non-partisan authorities of pseudo-scientists will confirm this or say it on “WSI 24 television” and some people – believe me – will recognize that this is true. Image, fast message, large titles with a question mark suggesting unknown what make engineering over people’s consciousness last. Today, the paradox is that the more information in space, the greater the chaos in people’s heads. People care what happened this morning. What happened yesterday is history, and what happened six months ago is the age of dinosaurs for some. This is how the world works today, so you can afford such lies. But again I say, it is not unconscious. This is a conscious action, and other “useful eco-terrorists” or traitors of Poland pick up and repeat to please, to exist. I don’t know why, but they seem to need it.

Interview by Anna Wiejak

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