Polish minister says Czechs to drop Turow complaint if deal signed

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The Turow open-pit coal mine operated by the company PGE is seen in Bogatynia, Poland, June 15, 2021. REUTERS/David W Cerny/File Photo

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WARSAW, Jan 19 (Reuters) - If the Czech government agrees to terms for resolving a dispute over the Turow lignite mine, it will withdraw its complaint to the European Union's top court, a Polish minister said on Wednesday, striking an upbeat note about the latest round of talks.

The two European Union neighbours have been locked in a dispute over Poland's extension of mining at Turow, which feeds an adjacent power plant important to Polish energy supply.

The Czech Republic says mining leads to loss of underground water and causes other pollution, and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ordered Poland to pay a daily penalty of 500,000 euros ($566,700.00) to the European Commission for not halting operations at the mine. read more

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"If the agreement is successfully signed ... the Czech side will immediately send information to the court that the dispute has been resolved and withdraw their complaint," environment Minister Anna Moskwa told public broadcaster Polskie Radio 1.

Moskwa met newly appointed Czech environment minister Anna Hubackova in Warsaw on Tuesday. The ministers said that terms which had been discussed now had to be approved by the Czech government.

"Yesterday's meeting certainly produced more than the 18 earlier meetings with the previous government, not only in terms of atmosphere... but also in terms of specific arrangements," Moskwa said.

She said Poland was willing to sign up to the discussed terms immediately if the Czech government agrees to them.

Neither side has given any details on what the agreement might look like.

Warsaw and Prague have been in dispute about the length of the agreement, with Poland suggesting it may be ended after two years, which the Czech side said was unacceptable giving the mine's planned lifespan of over two decades.

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Reporting by Alan Charlish and Pawel Florkiewicz; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Tomasz Janowski

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