Czech Republic drops complaint against Poland in 'EU institutions' - PM
The Czech Republic has withdrawn from "European institutions" a complaint against Poland over the environmental impact of a Polish lignite mine, Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, has said.
On Thursday, Poland and the Czech Republic signed an agreement on the Turow open pit mine which ended a months-long dispute.
"As a consequence, the Czech Republic has withdrawn its complaint to the European institutions," the Polish prime minister said on Friday. "And this closes the case for good."
Last year, the Czechs complained to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) about the environmental impact of the Turow mine, which lies close to Poland's border with the Czech Republic and Germany, arguing that the mine depletes ground water levels on the Czech side as well as produces excessive dust and noise.
Under the long-awaited deal reached on Thursday, the Polish government agreed to pay the Czech Republic EUR 35 million in compensation, while the Polish power plant PGE, which owns the Turow mine, said it would transfer EUR 10 million to the Czech Liberec province, which has been most affected by the operation of the mine.
"We transferred the funds already yesterday," Morawiecki said at a press conference in Nowa Sarzyna, south-eastern Poland. "It was (EUR) 35 million plus (EUR) 10 (million) from PGE."
"Let me remind you that initially we were talking about as much as (EUR) 55 million, so we have reduced the amount significantly," the prime minister added.
But the total costs of the dispute for Poland may not end there. In September 2021, the CJEU imposed a daily fine of EUR 500,000 on Warsaw for failing to suspend operations at the mine, but the Polish government has refused to close the mine and to pay up.
However, the prime minister said Poland was going to use "all available ways of appeal so that it doesn't have to pay this extremely unjust penalty."
This was reiterated by Pawel Jablonski, a Polish deputy foreign minister, who said on Friday that "today the issue has been resolved in a way that is satisfactory for both sides and we'll be taking measures so that Poland doesn't have to pay those fines."
On Friday afternoon, Czech Minister of Environment Anna Hubackova confirmed that Prague had received EUR 45 million from Poland under the agreement on Turow while the Czech government spokesperson, Vaclav Smolka, told PAP that a request to withdraw the complaint regarding the mine had been sent to the CJEU office.
Later in the day, the CJEU said that it had been informed by the Czech and Polish governments about the settlement over the Turow mine, and pursuant to the regulations, the Court's president had decides to remove the case from the register.