Poland will not shut down disputed lignite mine, says gov't spokesman
The Polish government refuses to halt operations at the disputed Turów open-cast lignite mine since its closure will threaten the stability of the Polish energy system, a Polish government spokesman has announced.
"The financial penalty, imposed by the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union – PAP), is disproportionate to the situation and is not justified by the facts," Piotr Mueller stated in a communique on Monday.
He also said that no rulings issued by the EU top court should interfere in areas which are significant to the fundamental security of EU member countries. "Energy security is one such area," he explained.
Earlier in the day, Poland was ordered by the CJEU to pay a fine of EUR 500,000 per day for not halting operations at the Turów mine, in violation of the EU court's earlier ruling.
"We have maintained since the very beginning that halting operations at the Turów mine will endanger the stability of the Polish energy system," Mueller stated and explained that it would have negative consequences for millions of Poles and, on a broader scale, for the entire European Union.
"Its closure would cause huge problems," he said.
Mueller added that the Polish government wanted to reach an amicable settlement of the dispute with the Czech Republic, and that it respected the interests of local communities.
"The ongoing talks with the Czech Republic are proof of this," he said, adding that their aim was to reach an agreement regarding the evaluation of the mine's impact on the region.
Meanwhile, Senate (upper house) Speaker Tomasz Grodzki from the opposition Civic Coalition (KO) wrote on Twitter that "Poland will pay PLN 2,300,000 (EUR 500,000) daily for the indolence and incompetence of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his government."
"Mateusz Morawiecki kept convincing us that the Turów problem had been settled... and now all of us will be paying for the lack of a deal with the Czech Republic, since the government does not have its own money, but only has ours," Grodzki stated.
The Turów mine, which lies on the border with Germany and the Czech Republic, has been the subject of a complaint to the EU by the Czech Republic, which claims plans to extend it threaten the environment and, especially, ground water on the Czech side of the border.
The Turów mine is the producer of up to 7 percent of Poland's energy.