About 200 miners protested on Saturday in front of the European Commission’s Representation in Warsaw, dissatisfied with the plans to close the coal mines, which they say will lead to unemployment and rising fuel prices, Euronews reports.
The Polish government has promised to phase out coal mining as part of efforts to combat global warming.
“We agree with the energy transformation, but on fair terms. Calmly and without haste, so that every job to be liquidated is replaced by a job in a related industry, where earnings are similar, where you enjoy similar respect and prestige. We do not agree with second-hand jobs, “Sebastian Kocwin, a representative of a national trade union, told protesters.
More than half of Polish electricity production is based on coal, and many Poles say things should continue in the same way.
“Poles will not agree to a drastic increase in energy prices,” said MP Janusk Kowalski, a member of the Solidarity party present at the protest. “Energy independence is achieved based on your own resources. Poland has coal and we should use it to produce energy and heat ourselves “, says the deputy.
The protesters also handed a petition to the representative of the European Commission in Warsaw.
More than 40 countries that use coal for electricity production, including Poland, Vietnam, Canada and Chile, have pledged at the COP26 summit to phase out the exploitation of this fossil fuel by 2040.
On the other hand, Poland found out in September that it had to pay a daily penalty of 500,000 euros to the European Commission for not stopping the operation of the open-pit coal mine in Turow, thus violating a decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union. European Parliament (CJEU) pronounced a few months ago. Despite the verdict, Polish authorities have announced that they will continue to operate the Turrow mine.
The open-pit mine at Turow, operated since 1904, is located in southwestern Poland, near the border with the Czech Republic and Germany. The Polish public energy group PGE, which owns and operates the mine, plans to continue coal mining until 2044 and expand the operation by 25-30 square kilometers.
According to the Czech authorities, the mine has a negative impact on the environment in the border regions, with locals complaining about the noise created, the dust generated by the operation and the endangerment of drinking water tanks.
The CJEU ruled in May that Poland must “immediately” end the operation of a coal mine near the Czech Republic and whose harmful effects on the environment have been denounced by the Czech Republic.