PM to dismiss Polish ambassador in Prague

Miroslaw Jasinski has been Poland's ambassador in Prague for just three weeks. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, will sack Poland's ambassador to the Czech Republic for criticising the government’s handling of a Polish-Czech dispute over a lignite mine.

"Prime Minister Morawiecki has decided to launch the dismissal procedure against the Polish ambassador to the Czech Republic," government spokesperson Piotr Mueller wrote on Twitter on Thursday evening. "It is the duty of all Polish diplomats to look after Polish interests."

Miroslaw Jasinski, the ambassador, said in an interview with the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that the conflict over the Turow lignite mine, which lies in Poland but is close to the Czech border and, according to the Czech side, has a negative cross-border environmental impact, was handled badly by the Polish side.

Speaking about the origins of the dispute, Jasinski said that the Polish side had demonstrated "a lack of empathy, lack of understanding and a lack of willingness to hold a dialogue."

"After all, similar things happened in Belchatow or Konin (two other Polish lignite mines - PAP) and no-one has made a huge fuss about it," Jasinski added.

Poland's deputy prime minister and state assets minister, Jacek Sasin, criticised Jasinski on Twitter on Thursday.

"Thoughtless repetition of foreign narratives damages Poland's interests," Sasin wrote.

Anna Zalewska, a member of the European Parliament representing Poland's ruling party, Law and Justice, called Jasinski's interview "diplomatic treason".

In February 2021, the Czech Republic lodged a formal complaint over Poland's plans to expand the operations of the Turow mine with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Prague asked the court to impose a temporary ban on the mine's operations because, the Czech’s claimed, the mine depletes Czech ground waters as well as generating noise and emitting dust.

Three months later, the CJEU ordered the mine to halt excavation, but the Polish government failed to comply, which prompted the EU court in September to impose a EUR 500,000 daily fine on Poland.

The Polish government has so far refused to pay the fine.

The Polish-Czech negotiations on the Turow mine started in June 2021 and lasted until the end of September. The talks were briefly reinstated in November, but have not been continued.

Miroslaw Jasinski has been Poland's ambassador in Prague for just three weeks.