No plans to quickly depart from coal says minister
Neither the government nor the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party have plans to speed up the end of hard coal production in Poland, the Polish state assets minister has said.
"There is a social agreement under which coal mining is to be phased out by 2049," Jacek Sasin told reporters in Zabrze, southern Poland, on Monday.
Sasin made the statement after a meeting with a group of signatories of the social contract concerning the future of hard coal in Poland.
"Let me declare on behalf of the government and the ruling party that the social agreement will be fully implemented," Sasin said, adding that neither the government nor PiS had any plans to accelerate the process of the country's departure from coal.
Having admitted that many questions had recently been asked and a number of mix-ups had occurred, Sasin said that the meeting served "to clear up all doubts which had appeared."
"Coal will continue as the foundation of Poland's power generation for a long time," the minister concluded.
Poland is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, especially coal, and opposes the fast-tracking of the EU's green agenda. Warsaw argues it needs many more years to switch to green energy sources as it struggles with the legacies of the communist regime before 1989 that promoted coal mining and coal-fired power plants.
In April, the European Parliament approved key pieces of legislation that are part of the Fit for 55 in 2030 package. This is the EU's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and reach climate neutrality by 2050.
The Polish coal mining industry employs about 75,000 people and mining unions are still strong enough to exert significant pressure on any government when it comes to energy policy.