Poland: Czechia must withdraw its case over Turów coal mine from EU Court

The Polish climate minister emphasized that withdrawing the case was a crucial element to reaching a Polish-Czech agreement and the Polish side wished to sign the deal as quickly as possible

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Magdalena Jarco
Smoke rises from chimneys of Turow power plant located by the Turow lignite coal mine near the town of Bogatynia, Poland. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Polish Minister of Climate and Environment Anna Moskwa said that one of the key elements of the agreement concerning the Turów lignite mine is that the Czech side withdraw the conflict from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) within three days.

Given European procedures, this would mean that the withdrawal would have to be immediate.

The Polish minister added that she was ready to continue and conclude negotiations once a new Czech minister of climate was appointed. Moskwa noted that the last meeting with the Czech side concerning Turów had taken place on Nov. 5 and could have ended in success if not for a “lack of determination from the Czechs.”

“We sent our final good proposal; we received a response from the Czech side that it would be better for the final agreement to be reached with their new government,” she said.

The minister noted that the ECJ continued to collect on the €500,000 per day fine issued against Poland. She underlined that “while it was unknown what the fines were meant to accomplish and who they were meant to help, it definitely was not meant to be the Czech side.”

She stated that the Polish climate ministry had not paid any sums to the ECJ.

Polish-Czech negotiations concerning the Turów lignite mine began in June 2021 and were initially conducted by Minister of Climate and Environment Michal Kurtyka, who was later replaced by Anna Moskwa. The talks were suspended on Sept. 30 and restarted on Nov. 5. Due to a new government being formed in Czechia, they were not continued.

Czechia had filed a complaint to the ECJ against Poland due to the development of the Turów mine in late February 2021.

Czechia demanded that interim measures be imposed in the form of suspending the mine’s operation.

The Czech side believes that the mine’s development threatens access to water for the inhabitants of the town of Liberec. The inhabitants also complained about noises and dust caused by the excavation of coal.

On Sept. 20, the ECJ ruled that Poland must pay a €500,000 fine per day to the European Commission for not complying with the introduction of interim measures.

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