Czech PM optimistic about Turów lignite mine talks with Poland

The Czech prime minister has said that Polish-Czech talks on the Turów lignite mine may end in an agreement within several weeks.

According to the Czechs, the mine, which lies close to the Czech border in south-west Poland, is damaging the local environment, in particular the water table.

Petr Fiala told a Czech radio programme on Thursday that, "he has been in contact with his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki."

He refused to provide details of his talks with Morawiecki but stated that they both wanted a deal which could be accepted by the two sides, including the Liberec Region bordering Poland.

"I can imagine that a compromise will be reached but it always must be a compromise which is acceptable to the Czech Republic, the Liberec region and Poland," Fiala said.

Last year, the Czech government took Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) over the alleged negative environmental impact of the Turow mine.

In September 2021, the CJEU imposed a daily fine of EUR 500,000 on Poland for failing to suspend operations at the mine, but Poland has refused to close the mine or to pay up.

According to Fiala, there are still some contested points which must be agreed upon, but "the lack of agreement lies in no one's interests."

Fiala said that a dispute still remained over the compensation demanded by the Czech Republic for the losses caused by the Turow mine.

He said his country wanted to receive EUR 50 million while Poland has offered EUR 40 million. The CJEU should supervise the implementation of the agreement, he added, for ten years while Poland believes two years would be enough.