Solidarity union to stage protest in front of EU court over mine

Poland's Solidarity trade union will demonstrate in front of the EU's top court in Luxemburg next month in protest over the the court's demand to shut down the Turow lignite mine.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ordered the closure of the mine following complaints filed by the Czech Republic that claimed the mine was damaging ground water levels.

Piotr Duda, Solidarity leader, said the protest will take place on October 22.

"As unionists from Solidarity, but not only from Solidarity, we must resort to tough measures as the soft ones have ended," Duda said.

On Monday, the court ordered Poland to pay a fine of EUR 500,000 per day for not halting operations at the Turow open-cast mine, in violation of its earlier ruling.

"We're going to the 'court of injustice' of the European Union in Luxemburg to hand them our ruling to shut down the court," Duda said, accusing the court of having plans to close down Polish workplaces, mines and power stations, and depriving Poles of access to electricity.

The CJEU ruling said the Turow mine must be closed due to its environmental impact on ground waters, which affect Czechs living across the border from Poland.

Since May, when Poland was first ordered to halt the mine's operations, the country has failed to do so while negotiations with the Czech government have not produced an agreement.

Duda also appealed to the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, to adopt a tough stance and take "no step back," warning that other Polish mines and power plants may soon face the same problems that the Turow mine and its adjacent power plant are now struggling with.

The prime minister said on Tuesday that Poland will not shut down the disputed mine as that would deprive millions of households of electricity. Talks with the Czech government are continuing but are not expected to produce a tangible result before the Czech parliamentary elections scheduled for October 8-9.