Polish unionists protest CJEU ruling on Turow mine

Poland's Solidarity Union launched a protest on Friday in Luxembourg against an EU Court of Justice (CJEU) ruling ordaining the closure of an opencast lignite mine close to the Czech border.

The ruling, passed in May, followed Czech complaints that the mine was draining local ground waters. It evoked strong protests from Poland, which refused to shut down the mine arguing that the move would liquidate thousands of jobs and leave countless households without power.

On September 20, the CJEU imposed on Poland a fine of EUR 500,000 per day for non-compliance with the May ruling.

Clad in yellow waistcoats with "Hands off Turow" inscribed on them and carrying placards saying "Moscow took our sovereignty yesterday, Brussels is taking it today," around 2,000 protesters gathered outside the CJEU headquarters, where they handed out leaflets warning against the effects of the mine's closure.

In his address to the protesters, Solidarity Union leader Piotr Duda said the union will not allow the Turow pit's closedown as this would deprive millions of households of power. He added that the Friday protest was a warning to give the CJEU time to reconsider its decision.

"We will not allow the closure of thousands of jobs and for millions of Poles to be cut off from power... this is why we are here... to warn and give some time for reflection," Duda said.

Wojciech Ilnicki, Solidarity steward at the Turow mine and one of the protest organisers, told PAP that the in deciding about the mine's closure the CJEU was "behaving as if it were in North Korea."

"Thanks to this singlehanded and absolutely heartless decision by the CJEU... we are faced with the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, the paralysis of a whole region," Ilnicki added.