Czechs insist on compensation in rejigged Polish mine deal

Prague (AFP/APP): The Czech Republic insisted on compensation worth 50 million euros in a revised deal with Poland on the disputed Turow mine, Czech Environment Minister Anna Hubackova said on Saturday.
Prague and Berlin complain the open-cast brown coal mine near their border with Poland is affecting groundwater levels and increasing dust and noise in the area.
The European Court of Justice ordered Poland to shut the mine in May then imposed a daily fine of 500,000 euros ($567,000) in September for failing to do so, which Warsaw has refused to pay.
Hubackova, in office since December, met her Polish counterpart Anna Moskwa in Warsaw on Tuesday to try to break the deadlock. “Three days have passed and an updated draft agreement with Poland on Turow is ready,” Hubackova said in a tweet.
She told the Czech news agency CTK that the Czech side insisted on the 50-million-euro ($57-million) compensation, while Poland was willing to pay 40 million euros.
Hubackova added the Czech government would discuss the revamped deal on Wednesday and that talks with Poland should resume “ideally by the end of January”.
Poland said it would go on extracting lignite — a low-quality brown coal — at Turow as a closure would put the country’s energy security “at risk”.
The mine fuels a power station providing around seven percent of Poland’s electricity. Poland’s largest energy group PGE, which owns both the mine and the plant, plans to expand the mine and extract coal there until 2044.
Poland relies on coal to meet up to 80 percent of its energy needs, but has vowed to develop green energy sources and to shut its last mine by 2049, in line with targets for emissions cuts set by the European Union.