EC reports Poland has not paid fines imposed on Turow mine

The European Commission has said that two summons to pay fines imposed on the Turow lignite mine had been sent to Poland and that no money had yet been received by the EC.

Last year, the Czech government took Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), and in September 2021, the CJEU imposed a daily fine on Poland of EUR 500,000 for failing to suspend operations at the mine.

The Czechs want the mine, which is owned by the Polish state-controlled energy company PGE and located near the Czech border, closed owing to fears that it has an adverse effect on groundwater in the region.

EC spokesperson, Balazs Ujvari, said at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday that the Commission's task was to collect the fines from Poland which were imposed by the CJEU.

He pointed out that a "standard procedure" had been launched concerning this issue by sending a request for payment.

The EC spokesperson indicated that a first request was sent on November 10, 2021, and that it had a 45-day deadline for payment. Because the payment was not received within this time frame, a so-called reminder letter had been send with a 15-day deadline. He noted that the 15-day deadline had not yet expired.

He added that if the Polish authorities failed to pay the fines, the EC had procedures in place to recover the money from the penalties and that this would be done by deducting the amount of payment, mentioned in the first request, from funds the member states receive from the EU budget.

Meanwhile, new Czech Environment Minister Anna Hubackova said on Thursday she was ready to reach a deal with Poland next week over the disputed mine.

"I am prepared to go to Poland, to Warsaw, with a final offer of an agreement, or signed contract, or to discuss closing a deal," Hubackova said after meeting local representatives on the Czech side of the border, neighbouring the area where the Turow mine is located.

She added that a previous draft agreement from September was acceptable to the Czech government.