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Road closed. The Baltic Highway hits the stop sign

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Road closed. The Baltic Highway hits the stop sign

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A planned motorway linking Warsaw and Helsinki is the focus of a growing row between Brussels and Poland. The European Commission wants to halt work on the new road in northeastern Poland, which will cross a nature reserve, seen by Brussels as of special environmental interest. The Commission has launched legal action hoping to force Poland to find a new route. Warsaw has stopped work until Wednesday, but says it may re-start. The Commission spokesman Barbara Hellferich said it is an unprecedented situation that a member state might defy Brussels.

The Rospuda Valley project is supported by many local people, to ease the heavy traffic which now passes through their towns and villages every day. Commission officials say privately that building the motorway through the Rospuda Valley could compromise EU funds for the whole Polish stretch of the Via Baltica, which amounts to hundreds of millions of Euros.