The turbulent conflict between Poland and Czechia over the issue of extraction in the Turów lignite mine has come to a close after prime ministers, Mateusz Morawiecki and Petr Fiala, reached a compromise agreement.
According to the deal, Poland will pay €35 million in compensation and the Polish Energy Group foundation will transfer €10 million to the Liberec region that borders with Poland.
“This is good news, especially in context of Russia’s gas blackmail. Better late than never,” commented Solidarity trade union leader Piotr Duda, reminding that Solidarity had strongly protested the Polish government executing the decision of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) and opposed the idea of paying fines over Turów.
Wojciech Dobrołowicz, the mayor of Bogatynia which is located near the mine, stated that he was pleased that the common sense of Poland and Czechia had prevailed instead of the bureaucracy and dictate of the European courts.
“The common sense of both countries, which had focused on the inhabitants of the region, had won and decided that people are the most important,” he said in a statement.
“This is a guarantee of work stability, water and heat supply and budget funds for us. For the Czech side this is carrying out exactly those investments which they had applied for,” Dobrołowicz added.
Polish Climate and Environment Minister Anna Moskwa declared that the EU and Poland’s energy stability will be maintained thanks to the agreement.
Government spokesman Piotr Muller reminded that opposition politicians had claimed that a solution other than suspending extraction in Turów was impossible.
“Not long ago, Rafał Trzaskowski [opposition’s mayor of Warsaw] had said that there was “no other solution” when it came to suspending the extraction in Turów. It turns out that there is another solution! This is proven by the deal signed by Mateusz Morawiecki,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Polish-Czech talks over the Turów lignite mine had begun in June 2021 following the Czech side filing a complaint against Poland to the CJEU concerning the mine’s development. Simultaneously, Prague had demanded that extraction be suspended as an interim measure. According to the Czech side, the mine’s development would threaten access to water for Liberec’s inhabitants, as well as increase noise and dust emissions.
On Sept. 20, 2021, the CJEU had imposed a €500,000 per day fine on Poland for not introducing the interim measure and not suspending the mine’s operation. Poland refused to pay that fine now totaling over €68 million. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday that the government was considering various legal measures to address that.