EC to deduct more Turow mine penalties from Poland's EU budget funds

The European Commission (EC) has said it will deduct more money from EU funding earmarked for Poland owing to the Polish government’s refusal to pay fines linked to its failure to shut down the Turow lignite mine.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on September 20 imposed a daily fine of EUR 500,000 on Poland for not implementing its demand to close operations at the Turow mine, which has been the subject of a legal complaint by the Czech Republic.

The Czechs have claimed the mine, which lies close to the Czech-Polish border, damages the environment.

On Tuesday, the Commission announced it will deduct the amount due in unpaid fines for the period September 20, 2021 to October 19, 2021.

Balazs Ujvari, the EC’s spokesman, told PAP on Wednesday that the EC will deduct yet more money from funding due to Poland to offset Poland’s failure to pay the fines.

"I can confirm another offset letter has been sent for the period October 20, 2021 to November 18, 2021," said Ujvari. "By making the offset, the Commission is complying with its legal obligation to collect financial penalties imposed by the Court in accordance with its order of September 20, 2021."

On January 13, the EC announced that it had sent two requests for fines to Poland for the Turow mine and had not yet received any money.

"Each time we send a request for payment, it is for a period of one month. The payment is due from September 20, when the court (Court of Justice of the European Union - PAP) imposed the penalty," Ujvari added.

Piotr Mueller, the Polish government’s spokesman, said on Tuesday that Poland would use all possible legal means to appeal against the EC’s plans to deduct Polish funding.

He added that the Polish and Czech governments have struck an agreement over the mine, and that it was the duty of the Polish government to ensure the country's energy security and the stability of employment in the energy sector.