WORLD / EUROPE
Czechs want EU court to fine Poland over coal mine
Published: Jun 08, 2021 07:23 PM
Czech President Milos Zeman speaks at the Polish Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on May 10, 2018. Czech President Milos Zeman began his visit to Poland Thursday with a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda. File photo:Xinhua

Czech President Milos Zeman speaks at the Polish Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on May 10, 2018. Czech President Milos Zeman began his visit to Poland Thursday with a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda. File photo:Xinhua

The Czech government said Monday it would ask the European Union's top court to fine Poland for its failure to suspend mining at the Turow coal mine near the border.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ordered Poland to suspend brown coal mining at the open-cast mine in May, following a Czech complaint over its environmental impact.

Warsaw however said it would keep the mine open as a closure could hamper the country's energy security. The mine provides around 7 percent of the country's electricity.

Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec said Monday they would ask the ECJ to fine Poland EUR 5 million ($6 million) for each day the mine is open despite the court verdict.

"This complaint should be filed in the coming days, and in the meantime we will naturally lead talks with the Polish government on an agreement," Brabec told reporters.

The mine is located in the southwestern corner of Poland near borders with both the Czech Republic and Germany.

Both countries have complained about the mine and its planned expansion, saying it caused water losses and increased noise and dust levels in the region.

Operating since 1904, the mine supplies coal mainly to a local power station. Poland's largest energy group PGE, which owns both the mine and the plant, is planning to extract coal at Turow until 2044.

The court ruling said that Polish legislation allowing an open-cast mining project to be extended without an environmental impact assessment could break EU law.

And it deemed it "sufficiently likely" that continuing to exploit Turow would "have negative effects on the level of groundwater in Czech territory."

AFP
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