EU Commission takes hard steps to make Poland pay Turów fines

A view of Turow cooling towers of the coal fired power station near the Turow lignite mine, operated by PGE company, in Bogatynia, Poland, 14 June 2021. [EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK]

The European Commission will deduct money from Poland’s allocation in the EU budget in response to the country’s refusal to comply with the EU Court of Justice’s ruling regarding the Turów mine, TVN24 TV station reported.

EU officials “are now analysing exactly from which funds for Poland to deduct €15 million plus interest,” TVN24’s Brussels correspondent Maciej Sokołowski found out.

“The decision will be made within a few days, and once it’s been sent to Poland, the Polish government will have 10 days to respond, and after that time the money will be deducted from funds earmarked for Poland,” he reported.

Last year, the Czech Republic sued Poland before the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg over the Turów mine, which is located near the Czech border, which Prague says has an adverse effect on groundwater in the region.

The EU Court imposed on Poland a daily €500,000 fine for failing to comply with its interim measure and refusing to close the mine.

Commission spokesperson Balazs Ujvari said last Thursday at a press conference that a “standard procedure” had been launched concerning this issue by sending a request for payment.

However, Poland has not yet responded to this letter. Since the deadline for payment of the first tranches of fines has expired, the Commission decided to move to the next phase of the procedure and reflect on how to force the payments.

The overall penalty Poland is expected to pay for Turów mine functioning has already amounted to €60 million. However, the government has been clear that it will not pay the fines.

“If the Commission wants to dock the sum from the EU money allocated to Poland, which is in our view illegal under the EU law, it can obviously do so, but for us, the most important is the energy security of Polish people,” government spokesman Piotr Müller said on 17 January.

(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | EURACTIV.pl)

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