PM says court's ruling on Turow mine is illegal

Mateusz Morawiecki has called a decision by a Warsaw court to suspend environmental permit for the contentious Turow lignite mine on the Polish-Czech border "illegal" and against Polish interests.

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw ruled on Tuesday that the open-cast lignite mine posed a threat to the environment and suspended the implementation of an environmental permit, which had been issued by the General Environmental Protection Authority (GDOS) last September.

Earlier, in February, Warsaw struck a deal with Prague which ended a long-running dispute over the apparently negative impact of Turow on groundwater in the Czech Republic.

In November 2022, several non-governmental organisations, including Germany's Frank Bold Foundation and the Czech and German branches of Greenpeace filed a complaint against the GDOS's decision.

Commenting on the Tuesday ruling by the Warsaw court, Morawiecki said during a visit to the Turow mine on Wednesday: "This is lawlessness and a clear blow to Polish interests.

"There is no need to carry out this ruling, because a court ruling that does not take into account the interests of Poles but takes into account the interests of foreigners is illegal," he added.

According to Morawiecki, the court's decision which "does not take into account the supply of electricity to nurseries, hospitals and schools is illegal."

He said that if the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party wins the general election this October the government "will not let this mine be closed."

"We are the guardians, we are the protectors of the Polish mining industry," Morawiecki said.

Petr Fiala, the Czech prime minister, said on Wednesday that "there are a number of guarantees that the mine will not harm the interests of the Czech Republic and the interests of our citizens."

He said that the coming months will show whether the measures taken are effective, adding that the information available so far shows that the assessment of how they have been implemented will most likely be positive.

Negotiations between Poland and the Czech Republic eventually led to the signing of a Polish-Czech agreement under which Poland paid the Czech Republic EUR 45 million as compensation for mining damage and the Czechs withdrew their lawsuit.