EU court bans lignite extraction at Polish mine

The Turow open-cast mine is located close to Poland's border with the Czech Republic and Germany. Grzegorz Hawałej/PAP

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has supported a request by the Czech Republic for production to be stopped at the Turow lignite mine in the south-west of the country, and ordered Poland to immediately suspend extraction.

The Turow open-cast mine is located close to Poland's border with the Czech Republic and Germany.

The Czech Republic has been seeking its closure owing to environmental concerns.

"Poland must immediately cease lignite extraction activities in the Turow mine," the CJEU said in a news release.

"The pleas of fact and law raised by the Czech Republic justify the granting of the interim measures sought," the court added.

The suspension of the mine's activities will remain in place until a final verdict is issued, the court said.

The Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said later on Friday that the Polish government will "strongly counteract this unfair and unjust decision of the CJEU."

"I am convinced that we will be able to prove our arguments and conclude the whole matter in such a way as not to endanger the life and health of Polish citizens due to the decision made in Luxembourg," Morawiecki said.

"CJEU decisions may not infringe upon areas related to the basic security of the Member States, such as energy security," he said.

According to Morawiecki, the losses due to the closure of the Turow mine would amount to billions of zlotys and that the government would do everything to maintain Poland's energy security.

The prime minister added that the Turow Power Plant, powered by coal mined from the Turow Mine, generates up to around 7 percent of Poland's energy and provides electricity for some two or three million people, or more.

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said that the "ill-considered" decision of the CJEU is a blow to Poland's basic economic interests and energy sovereignty.

"The European Union implements the ideological agenda of the climate and energy package, regardless of the enormous costs that Polish society has to bear," he said.

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