Europe's highest court has ordered Poland to stop logging immediately in its primeval Bialowieza forest. It includes one of the largest surviving parts of a forest that covered the European plain about 10,000 years ago. Poland now faces 100,000 euros a day fine if it continues logging in forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The government has been accused by the European Commission of logging trees that are 100 years and older, an act which is illegal under EU law. Many believe the move to open up logging in the Bialowieza forest is a show of strength by the conservative and nationalistic Law and Justice (PiS) government, intent on showing the EU – which has accused Warsaw of undermining democracy – that it has the power to do what it wishes with its own land. The government responded with violence to peaceful protest organised to protect the forest from the logging.