The flags of the European Union in front of the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Xinhua
The EU’s highest court on Monday ordered Poland to pay Brussels a daily fine of 500,000 euros ($ 586,000) for failing to shut down a massive coal mine that angered the neighboring Czech Republic.
The court in May ordered Warsaw to halt mining of lignite, a low-quality lignite, at the Turow open-pit mine after a complaint from Prague that it created a cross-border environmental risk and violated EU law. EU.
But the Polish government refused to comply, arguing it would put the country’s energy security “at risk” as the mine powers a power plant providing around 7% of its electricity.
Following Monday’s decision, government spokesman Piotr Muller insisted Warsaw would not shut down the KWB Turow mine. Any closure would “have negative consequences for the energy security of millions of Poles and the entire EU,” he added.
In June, Prague asked the Court of Justice of the European Union to fine Poland 5 million euros ($ 5.9 million) per day for failing to stop production at the mine .
The governments of the two countries have also entered into formal talks on the situation, promising to reach a deal. Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek welcomed the verdict, saying Prague was ready to continue negotiations. “The main objective remains the same, access to drinking water on the Czech side should not be compromised,” he tweeted.
The Europe Beyond Coal campaign urged Poland to come up with a plan to stop coal mining.
“He must plan for a fair shutdown of Turow and the rest of its coal industry by 2030 at the latest,” activist Zala Primc said in a statement.
Poland depends on coal for up to 80% of its energy needs, but is committed to developing green energy sources and closing its last mine by 2049, in line with emission reduction targets set by the European Union.