Poland seeks deal with Czech Republic to keep contested Turów brown coal mine open

On Monday, after a special meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, PM Mateusz Morawiecki announced that Poland will be seeking a deal with the Czech Republic to keep the contested Turów brown coal mine open, Wyborcza.pl reports.

On Friday May 21st, the Court of Justice of the European Union ordered Poland to immediately suspend all extraction activities at the brown coal mine in Turów located near the Czech and German border.

The EU court’s preliminary injunction comes after a complaint from the Czech Republic which argues that the mining violates EU law and creates an environmental hazard.

Prague also points out that the coal mine has been operating illegally for over a year, as the Polish government unlawfully extended its license until 2026. Both the mine and power plant in Turów are owned by Poland’s largest state-controlled energy group PGE. Following the announcement of the CJEU’s injunction, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that Poland will not implement the decision - "We do not foresee the closure of the mine and will not allow it'" - he said.

After the special meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Monday, the Polish PM announced that Poland is coming close to reaching an agreement with the Czech Republic on keeping the Turów power plant open after all.

"As a result of our negotiations, the Czech Republic has agreed to withdraw its complaint to the Court of Justice of the European Union. Today, I met with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babisz.

"Earlier, I was already in the Lower Silesia region and established how to conduct negotiations with the Czech side. I confirmed the direction of these negotiations with Prime Minister Babisz and these took place in the evening."

Mr Morawiecki also disclosed the conditions of the agreement, "Most importantly, our agreement foresees long-term projects of up to €45 million involving the Polish side, and the co-financing of these projects by Poland."

He added that the funds will come from the state budget, local governments, and the state-controlled energy company PGE which owns the Turów power plant.

Poland has also agreed to set up an expert commission to assess the mine's impact on the environment. PGE will also invest in special screens which are supposed to partially eliminate the outflow of water. On the other hand, the company will also work on dikes, which are to prevent the polluting coal dust from reaching the Czech side.

The Prime Minister added that the coal mine "works and will continue to do so," and that Poland is also committed to "resolving the dispute amicably".

Image: By Julian Nyča - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...

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