VISEGRAD GROUP ON THE VERGE OF DISINTEGRATION

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By Edwig Ban
Poland is one of the largest polluters in the EU. More than 10% of the Union’s toxic gas emissions come from Poland. Germany’s neighbor is dependent on coal production for electricity. Almost 90% of Poland’s electricity is supplied by coal-fired power plants.
The Conservative government in Warsaw has managed to juggle bureaucrats in Brussels to postpone the closure of coal-fired power plants as much as possible. And he succeeded, following the example of Germany.
But, as they say, the little stump knocks down the big cart.
Warsaw’s agreements with Brussels were undermined by Prague. Neighbor and “friend” of Poland. Czechia has called on the Warsaw government to urgently close the Turow coal mine in the Czechia’s neighborhood. The Prague government has justified the fact that the surface exploitation of coal in Turow is very damaging to the groundwater of the area and endangers the lives of Czech citizens.
At the end of February, Czechia lodged a complaint against Poland concerning the extension of the Turów lignite mine to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The Prague government has even demanded the suspension of mining.

In May, the CJEU ordered Poland to suspend production until the case is resolved on the merits. Poland did not comply with the decision because the Turow mine provides raw materials for almost 7% of the country’s electricity production. In this situation, the Czech Republic requested that a fine be imposed on Poland. They demanded a fine of EUR 5 million a day.

Last Monday, the CJEU decided that Poland would pay 500,000 to the European Commission. euro per day for non-implementation of provisional measures and for not stopping lignite mining at the Turów mine.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday that the Polish government would not close the Turów complex, and the decision to impose a fine was – in his opinion – inadequate and disproportionate.

From an economic and legal point of view, the misunderstandings between Warsaw and Poland have passed into the political plan. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was absent from a demographic forum in Budapest last week due to the presence of the Czech counterpart at the event.
Sources close to the Polish prime minister and president suggest that if Prague does not change its attitude and continue to demand a fine for Warsaw, then Poland will reconsider its position on its presence in the Visegrad Group, which brings together Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Hungary is defending Poland, and Slovakia is positioning itself on expectations for the future of the Visegrad Group.
According to the Warsaw press, the Polish government insists on an amicable settlement of the dispute with the Czech Republic. For now, both sides are fighting for political leadership in their area of interest.

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