The Czech government agreed Monday to sue Poland in the Court of Justice of the EU over alleged violations of water, environmental and impact assessment rules at the Turów lignite mine near the border between the two countries.
It will be filed “at the turn of February and March” and will ask the court to stop mining activities while the lawsuit proceeds.
In December, the European Commission agreed that Poland had breached EU permitting and environmental procedures regarding transparency and judicial review, but called environmental claims over air pollution and imperiled groundwater supply “unfounded … based on the evidence and arguments.”
“Unfortunately, even in Warsaw ten days ago, the negotiations did not turn out as we had hoped,” Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said in Monday’s statement.
“From the way those discussions went it could be concluded that there was a chance and room for an amicable settlement to the dispute,” Aleksander Brzózka, climate ministry spokesman, said Monday via email. “The Polish Ministry of Climate and Environment is surprised at the decision of the Czech government to bring Poland to the European Court of Justice in relation to the activity of the Turów lignite opencast mine.”
In December, Poland initially said it could not agree to Czech demands for financial compensation that could “not be rationally justified.”
Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek, who will represent his country in court, said in the statement that the suit will focus mainly on the lack of procedures for Czech citizens to participate in the mine expansion permit process or challenge it in court.