Poland appeals against coal mine fine deduction from Poland's EU funds

A complaint from Poland has been brought before The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) against the European Commission's decision to cut Poland's EU funding in order to recover money Warsaw had refused to pay after CJEU ruling on Turow coal mine, the CJEU press officer has said.

The court did not say who had filed the complaint.

"The Court of the EU has received a Polish complaint to annul the decision of the European Commission regarding the deduction, for the period from September 20, 2021 to January 17, 2022, of the amount of the periodic penalty payment imposed by the decision of the Vice-President of the CJEU in case C-121/21 R, Czech Republic vs Poland (#Turow)," Ireneusz Kolowca from the CJEU wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

The CJEU on September 20, 2021 imposed a daily fine of EUR 500,000 on Poland for not implementing its demand to close operations at the Turow mine, which has been the subject of a legal complaint by the Czech Republic.

The Czechs have claimed the mine, which lies close to the Czech-Polish border, damages the environment.

On January 13, the European Commission (EC) announced that it had sent two requests for fines to Poland for the Turow mine and had not yet received any money.

On February 4, Poland and the Czech Republic struck an agreement on the Turow mine which ended a months-long dispute. Under the deal, the Polish government agreed to pay the Czech Republic EUR 35 million in compensation, while the Polish power plant PGE, which owns Turow, said it would transfer EUR 10 million to the Liberec province in the Czech Republic, which has been the area most affected by the mine's operations.

Later in the day, the CJEU said that it had been informed by the Czech and Polish governments about the settlement over the Turow mine, and pursuant to the regulations, the Court's president had decided to remove the case from the register.

But the total costs of the dispute for Poland did not end there, as Warsaw has refused to close the mine and to pay the fines imposed by CJEU.

On February 8, the EC said it would deduct the amount due in unpaid fines for the period September 20, 2021 to October 19, 2021.

The following day the Commission said it would deduct yet more money from EU funding due to Poland to offset Poland’s failure to pay the fines.