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The Commission and the Czech govt claim that Poland had indulged in certain infringements while extending the mine’s license


The Turow coal mine in Poland owned by PGE. (Credit: Anna Uciechowska/

The European Commission (EC) said that it will join the Czech Republic’s lawsuit against the Polish government in the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU) objecting to its decision to extend the license for the Turow coal mine.

A spokesperson of the European Commission, has been quoted by Reuters, as saying: “I can now confirm that the Commission has today submitted its request to intervene before the Court of Justice of the EU in Case C-121/21 Czechia v Poland.”

In December 2020, the European Commission alleged that Poland had indulged in certain infringements of EU law that the Czech Republic had claimed in the lawsuit. Included in these is the improper application of EU laws that mandates Poland to consult the public and neighbouring nations before prolonging the life of the mine.

Owned by Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), the Turow mine is situated 20km northwest of the Czech city of Liberec. In April 2021, Poland’s Climate and Environment Ministry further extended the mine’s license to 2044.

Last month, the Court of Justice of the EU ordered Poland to immediately suspend the extraction of lignite coal at the Turow coal mine, while it processes the lawsuit.

Last week, the Czech government requested the Court of Justice of the EU to impose a fine of €5m a day on Poland for refusing to close the coal mine, reported the Europe Beyond Coal campaign.

As part of an out-of-court settlement offer, the Czech government is also expected to request Poland to pay an estimated amount of €40m-€50m for rebuilding water supplies in regions affected by the Turów coal mine in the country.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), a network of environmental citizens’ organisations in Europe, has applauded the intervention of the European Commission in the lawsuit against Poland.

EEB coal combustion and mines campaign coordinator Riccardo Nigro said: “This is a major breakthrough. We welcome the Commission’s decision to stand up for the rule of law and for the basic rights of the communities that have been losing their water and homes to the Turów mine.

“The game is up: mining operations must immediately cease in Turów, and the Polish government should get serious about moving beyond coal and securing a just transition for coal communities.”