EC to deduct Turow fines from Poland's EU funding

The European Commission will deduct fines levied on Poland for its failure to close down a lignite mine from EU funding, the Commission's spokesperson told PAP on Tuesday.

Balazs Ujvari said the fines in question cover the period from September 20 to October 19 2021, and their removal from funding earmarked for Poland will commence 10 days after Warsaw's notification about the decision.

Piotr Mueller, the Polish government's spokesperson, told PAP Poland will resort to all available legal means to appeal the Commission's decision. He added that this was all the more justified, as Poland and the Czech Republic have recently reached agreement over the Turow mine.

Grzegorz Puda, Poland's funds and regional policy minister, announced that Poland intends to contest the EC's decision, telling the lower house of parliament: "We believe we must do everything for Poles to have energy security and heating."

The open-cast Turow mine lies close to the Czech Republic, and has been the subject of a complaint to the EU by the Czech government on the grounds that it threatens the environment and, especially, ground water levels on the Czech side of the border.

Last year, the Czech government took Poland to the CJEU, which, in September 2021, imposed a daily fine of EUR 500,000 on Poland for failing to suspend operations at the mine.

So far Poland has refused to close the mine or pay up, arguing that the mine has a key role in the country’s energy infrastructure.