Czech-Polish talks on lignite mine could resume ‘in next few days’

The Turów coal mine. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A Polish official said on Monday Poland and the Czech Republic could resume talks in “the next few days” on a dispute over a lignite mine, the most serious spat between the two countries in decades.

The European Union’s top court told Poland last month to halt operations at the Turow open-pit lignite mine and power plant on the border with the Czech Republic after Prague complained of environmental damage in nearby Czech villages.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) then ordered Poland to pay a daily penalty of 500,000 euros ($581,900) to the European Commission after it failed to halt operations.

Talks on the dispute were suspended at the start of this month before a Czech parliamentary election, with the main sticking point being the length of the agreement, according to Czech authorities.

“I think it is a matter of the next few days, at most two weeks, when the talks will be resumed,” Deputy foreign minister Piotr Wawrzyk told private broadcaster RMF FM.

The Polish government says the mine and nearby power plant, both operated by energy company PGE (PGE.WA), are crucial for energy security, with the plant responsible for as much as 7% of Poland’s energy output.

($1 = 0.8593 euros)

(By Alan Charlish and Jason Hovet; Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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