EC says Poland must pay fines since it is a legal duty

A European Commission spokesman has stated that Poland must pay the daily penalties imposed by the Court of Justice of the European Union because it is the country's legal obligation to do so.

Poland was ordered on Monday by the CJEU to pay a fine of EUR 500,000 per day for not halting operations at the Turow open-cast lignite mine, in violation of the EU court's earlier ruling.

The Turow mine, which lies on the border with Germany and the Czech Republic, has been the subject of a complaint to the EU by the Czech Republic, which claims that plans to extend it threaten the environment and, especially, ground water on the Czech side of the border.

Asked about the CJEU ruling, Eric Mamer told reporters on Tuesday that Poland would have to pay the imposed fines, and warned that the EC could take appropriate steps if Poland did not fulfil this obligation.

Vivian Loonela, another EC spokesperson, said that the EC wanted Poland to immediately halt operations at the Turow mine. She also stated that the EU would use all powers at its disposal to make Poland pay the daily fines imposed by the CJEU.

The Czech Republic asked the Court to impose a daily penalty of EUR 5 million on Poland for not having immediately closing the mine.

On May 21, the CJEU demanded an immediate halt to mining at Turow under interim measures until a verdict is issued.

The Turow mine and power station are part of the PGE Polish Energy Group. In 2020, Climate Minister Michal Kurtyka prolonged the extraction licence for the mine for another six years, till 2026.