Poland, Czechia reach accord on Turow mine, says PM

Leszek Szymański/PAP

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, and the Czech prime minister, Petr Fiala, announced in Prague on Thursday that the two countries had signed an agreement on the disputed Turow lignite mine.

"I hope that, either today or tomorrow, the Czech Republic will withdraw its complaint regarding Turow from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)," Morawiecki stated.

The open pit Turow mine, part of the largest Polish energy company PGE, lies on the border with Germany and the Czech Republic, and has been the subject of a complaint to the EU by the Czech Republic, which claims that it threatens the environment and, especially, ground water on the Czech side of the border.

Last year, the Czech government took Poland to the CJEU, which, in September 2021, imposed a daily fine of EUR 500,000 on Poland for failing to suspend operations at the mine, but Poland has refused to close the mine or to pay up.

Fiala said that his country would withdraw the complaint from CJEU after it had received the agreed amount from Poland. He added that under the agreement Poland is to pay EUR 35 million in compensation to the Czech Republic while the Polish Energy Group PGE Foundation EUR 10 million to the Liberec Region.

"The signing of the Turow deal is of fundamental importance to us as it marks the end of a period when Polish-Czech relations, that are usually very good, were frozen," Morawiecki said, adding that this was also the beginning of a new chapter in mutual contacts.

"This is what we need as neighbours and as states situated on the Nato's and EU's eastern flank because we know that dark clouds are hanging over the security of our eastern neighbour," the Polish prime minister stated.

Having repeated that Poland could not close down the mine due to its importance to Poland's energy security, Morawiecki expressed his conviction that both the Turow mine and power plant "will be now operating with no problems."

"This is a success. We managed to remove a barrier in relations between our countries," Fiala said.

Referring to the talks regarding the mine, Fiala told reporters that their only aim was to reach an agreement, which would be beneficial to citizens, and which would make it possible to return to such bilateral relations that the two countries had had before the Turow dispute.

Fiala also stated that the deal envisaged the completion of a barrier preventing the outflow of groundwater and of an earth embankment, environment monitoring and a fund for local projects.