Poland’s Deputy Justice Minister has said that the EU will not ‘get a cent’ of a fine levied on the country for operating a open-pit lignite mine.
“Poland is ordered to pay the European Commission a daily penalty payment of €500,000 because it has not ceased lignite extraction activities at Turow mine,” the CJEU ruling said.
However, Poland’s deputy Justice Minister, Marcin Romanowski, said it went beyond blackmail.
“The CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union) demands half-a-million daily fines from Poland for the fact that Poland did not leave its citizens without energy and did not close the mines overnight,” he declared on Twitter.
“It is judicial robbery and theft in broad daylight. You won’t get a cent.”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was also defiant, defending the mine as necessary for the country’s energy security.
The mine, which has been in operation since 1904, provides fuel to power stations that provides around 7% of Poland’s electricity. It employs 4,000 people.
“We are not going to turn off Turow, it would deprive millions of Polish families of electricity,” Morawiecki told Polish media.
The European Court of Justice ordered Poland to pay a €500,000 daily penalty because they ignored an court order to stop operations at its open-pit mine in Turow.
Poland’s Sebastian Kaleta also described the order as “aggression” on the side of the court and the European Commission.
Poland and the Czech Republic are engaged in a long-running dispute on the use of coal and subsequent pollution.
The order comes amid a dragging dispute between coal-reliant Poland and the Czech Republic.
The Czech government claims the mine, which is close to its border with Poland is polluting communities. It complained to the European Commission which then started legal proceedings against Poland for extending the mine’s life.