Brussels steps in as German-Polish fish death dispute unravels –


Current mass fish deaths within the River Oder have taken a brand new flip following accusations that the Polish authorities had did not notify their German counterparts in accordance with an EU directive, making it a matter for Brussels.

Learn the unique German story right here.

In Germany, fishermen first seen the fish deaths on 9 August and reported it to the Brandenburg Environmental Company.

A sudden enhance in water stage rise and salinity was additionally reported in rivers within the affected federal states.

However it’s now being advised that Polish authorities knew of the phenomenon on the finish of July, with experiences of mass fish deaths within the Oder river on the Polish aspect.

Poland didn’t inform Germany of such incidents regardless of it being required to rapidly inform affected nations underneath the EU Water Directive.

“In future, we should enhance the early detection of air pollution and take coordinated measures within the occasion of cross-border incidents,” mentioned EU Surroundings Commissioner Virginius Sinkevičius after a phone name with German Surroundings Minister Steffi Lemke on Tuesday (16 August).

“The chains, which had really been arrange theoretically for such accidents, didn’t work and, secondly, that the knowledge got here to Germany too late,” Lemke advised broadcaster ZDF on Monday.

Potential breach of EU guidelines

The shortage of communication from Poland was slammed by Until Backhaus, the atmosphere minister of the German state that borders Poland, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

In an interview with broadcaster Deutchlandfunk radio, he mentioned he was “pissed off” at Poland for delaying informing him in regards to the reported lifeless fish.

Brussels introduced that it will formally step in to search out out extra about what induced the “miscommunication”.

“We have now no definitive info on what the reason for the dying of those fish is,” mentioned European Fee spokesman Tim McPhie on Tuesday (16 August).

“Because the trigger isn’t recognized, we can’t say whether or not there may be an obligation to offer info underneath a selected directive,” the spokesperson mentioned.

Because it stays unclear what induced the mass fish dying, the Polish aspect has already commissioned Polish laboratories, in addition to Czech, Dutch and English consultants to look into the trigger based mostly on samples from the Oder river, Polish Surroundings Minister Anna Moskwa introduced on Tuesday.

Monitoring and cooperation

For now, the Polish aspect has denied any blame although the federal government is now trying to spend money on floor water quality control.

“I’ve determined to allocate PLN 250 million [€50 million] for the synchronisation and full digitalisation of the floor water high quality monitoring system throughout Poland,” the Polish minister mentioned on Twitter.

In the meantime, Sinkevičius has welcomed the institution of a joint process pressure of German and Polish consultants to make sure shut cooperation between the 2 nations in disaster administration conditions.

Lemke and her colleagues from Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had agreed to convene a process pressure at a gathering with Moskva and Polish Infrastructure Minister Andrzej Adamczyk in Szczecin on Sunday.

[Edited by Benjamin Fox]

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