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Environment: the European Commission imposes a fine of 15 million euros on Poland

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The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it would deduct from the European funds which must be paid to Poland a fine for non-compliance with a decision of the Court of Justice of the EU. An unprecedented decision.

Seized by the Czech Republic, the Court of Justice of the EU ordered the Polish government in May 2021 to close the Turow mine, due to harmful effects on the environment. In September, the court imposed a penalty of 500,000 euros per day until the closure of the mine.

But Poland left the mine open and did not pay the penalties. Over the period from September 20 to October 19, 2021, Poland therefore owes the EU nearly 15 million euros. A sum that will be directly deducted from European funds, the nature of which has not been specified.

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The European executive will proceed in “ten working days” to recover these late penalties, said a spokesperson for the Commission.

A mine considered too polluting

Located near the Czech border, the Turow open-pit mine was accused by Prague of harming the well-being of residents. On February 3, an agreement was reached between the two countries, which will not prevent the fine from applying.

“By making the compensation, the Commission fulfills its legal obligation to recover the financial penalties imposed by the Court” of justice, and which Poland refused to pay, specified the spokesperson for the Commission.

For its part, Poland has indicated its intention to have “use of all legal means to appeal against these projects of the European Commission”, declared Piotr Muller, the spokesman for the Polish government.

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