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Czechia ECJ EU penalty Turów lignite mine News Poland

Poland refuses to shut down coal plant despite EU fine of €500,000 a day

The Polish government says it is willing to pay a massive daily fine to keep its Turów coal mine running

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: tvp.info

The Polish government will not close the Turów lignite coal mine despite EU demands, according to government spokesman Piotr Muller, with the spokesman citing energy security as one of the key reasons Poland refuses to back down over the issue.

“Since the beginning, we have been of the opinion that suspending the operation of the Turów mine will threaten the stability of the Polish electricity-energy system,” Muller announced in an official statement.

The European Court of Justice, the EU’s top court, has obliged Poland to pay €500,000 per day to the European Commission due to failing to comply with the request to suspend the coalmine’s functioning. At the end of February 2021, Czechia filed a complaint to the European Court of Justice against Poland concerning the development of the Turów mine.

Czechia also filed a notion to introduce interim measures – the request to suspend coal extraction in the Polish mine. Prague justified its decision by claiming that the mine posed an environmental threat.

On May 21, 2021, the EU’s court ordered Poland to immediately suspend the mine’s activity until the issue was substantively resolved.

Polish-Czech negotiations, which were conducted in the meantime to resolve the conflict, have not led to an agreement.

The Polish government explained its refusal, emphasizing that shutting down the mine would lead to negative consequences for the energy security of millions of Poles. It also declared that it strived for an amicable solution to the conflict with Czechia and respects the interests of local societies. The government added that the European Court of Justice’s declaration stood in opposition to an amicable resolution.

Poland’s Muller stressed that none of the court’s decisions could violate the areas associated with the foundational energy security of member states.

The government’s statement also underlined that Turów is responsible for up to 7 percent of the country’s energy production.

“It supplies energy to hospitals, schools, households, and companies. The functionality of Polish houses, schools, hospitals, and companies depends on its stable operation. Its stable activity has an influence over the security, health and lives of millions of Polish families,” the statement reads.

The government also pointed out that Turów supplies heating to the nearby town and municipality of Bogatynia in which there are no alternative energy sources.