Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Poland and the Czech Republic have signed an agreement to end their dispute over the Turów coal mine.
Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his Czech counterpart Petr Fiala signed the agreement in Prague on Thursday seeking to end the long-standing dispute, DW reports.
Morawiecki pointed out that the agreement allows Poland to keep the mine open and continue to run the nearby coal-fired power plant without hindrance.
The Czech Republic brought the dispute before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2021, claiming that Poland was ignoring its protests and warning that the operation of the mine was having negative effects on the environment.
The ECJ ordered Poland to close the mine in May last year and slapped the country with a daily fine of 500,000 euro for not complying with the order.
At a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart, Fiala noted that the “deal undoubtedly brings advantages and benefits and results to communities affected” by the operation of the mine.
Under the agreement, the Czech Republic will withdraw its legal complaint and Poland will provide it with 45 million euro for investments in environmental protection and infrastructure.
Fiala said Poland had provided guarantees that an underground barrier currently under construction will protect water sources and that an oversight arrangement would last for five years.
Greenpeace has criticised the deal, stating its doubts about the efficacy of the barrier under construction.
EC maintains daily fines
Yesterday, the European Commission announced that it would not stop the daily fines until the Czech Republic withdraws its complaints against Poland.
According to EC spokesman Adalbert Jahnz, “any penalties that are due up until that date would remain due.”
The Commission has indicated that it has yet to receive any payments from Poland despite calling on the EU member state to pay four times.
Fiala announced that the Czech Republic will withdraw its complaint as soon as Poland pays the agreed compensation.