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Poland in 'intensive' talks with Czechs over disputed mine: minister

20.09.2021 20:00
Poland is in "intensive" talks with the Czech Republic over a contentious lignite mine at the two countries' shared border, a government minister said on Monday after the European Union’s top court imposed heavy fines on Warsaw.
Polands Climate and Environment Minister Michał Kurtyka speaks to reporters on Monday.
Poland's Climate and Environment Minister Michał Kurtyka speaks to reporters on Monday.Photo: PAP/Maciej Kulczyński

The EU Court of Justice (CJEU) said on Monday that Poland must pay a EUR 500,000 daily fine to the European Commission for defying an order to halt operations at its Turów lignite mine near the Czech border.

The dispute between the two neighbouring countries went international when the Czech Republic filed for an injunction with the EU Court of Justice in March, Poland’s state PAP news agency reported.

The injunction said that Turów, an open-cast lignite mine on the Polish-Czech border, was draining groundwater away from surrounding areas and harming Czech citizens.

Subsequently, Prague said in June it would call on Europe’s top court to fine Poland EUR 5 million daily for not complying with an order to halt extraction at the open-pit mine.

On Monday, the EU judges ruled Warsaw has to pay a EUR 500,000 daily fine to the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, for defying an order to halt operations at Turów.

The EU court said that the Turów mine, run by Poland’s state-run energy company PGE, continued to operate despite a ruling to stop mining activities immediately until a final judgement is delivered.

"Poland is ordered to pay the European Commission a daily penalty payment of EUR 500,000 because it has not ceased lignite extraction activities at Turów mine," the European Court of Justice said in a statement.

It added: "Such a measure appears necessary in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the interim measures decided upon in the order of 21 May 2021 and to deter that member state from delaying bringing its conduct into line with that order."

Poland’s government spokesman Piotr Müller said earlier this year that the Czech government had adopted a negotiation procedure to terminate the dispute and ensure a speedy deal between the two neighbouring countries.


Source: PAP