The Czech Republic and Poland have made more progress towards solving a dispute over one of Poland’s largest lignite mines, Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec said on Monday.
The spat is the most serious in decades between the neighbours and allies who are both part of the European Union and NATO. The 30-square kilometre Turow lignite mine feeds an adjoining power plant that covers as much as 7% of energy output in Poland, one of world’s most coal-reliant economies.
Czechs say the mine is damaging communities on the Czech side of the shared border.
Polish Climate Minister Michal Kurtyka said after the talks that he hoped to reach an agreement fast.
“We want to make this situation clear as soon as possible, to have an agreement,” Kurtyka told reporters.
Brabec said that although the talks were not easy, the two sides made some progress.
“I dare say that we managed to build on progress made last Friday … we agreed that it is in both parties interest to expedite the process with the aim to reach an agreement,” he said, referring to last Friday’s talks of experts.
The dispute has involved the top EU court.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ordered Poland last week to pay a daily penalty of 500,000 euros ($585,700) to the European Commission for not halting operations at Turow, in violation of an earlier court ruling.
The complex, employing 5,000, is slated to run until 2044, conflicting with EU ambitions to cut emissions to net zero by mid-century.
($1 = 0.8537 euros)
(By Jan Lopatka, Anna Koper and Robert Muller; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Grant McCool)