WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Some 2,000 Polish coal miners on Friday staged a noisy protest in Luxembourg on against a decision by the European Union’s top court to shut down a major coal mine in Poland and to fine the country for flouting the ruling.
Clad in yellow vests emblazoned with “HANDS OFF TUROW,” blowing horns and waving white-and-red Solidarity trade union flags, the protesters shouted in front of the EU’s Court of Justice that its rulings were unjustified and threatened Poland’s energy security.
The demonstrators chanted “We will not give Turow away” and left a protest letter at the court before marching to the Czech Embassy to protest Prague’s role in the rulings.
“Closing the mine would mean big shortage of energy and a cataclysm in Poland’s energy system,” Jaroslaw Grzesik, head of Solidarity union’s branch for mining, told The Associated Press.
In May, the court ordered the open-cast Turow mine closed following complaints by the Czech Republic that the mine’s operations negatively impacted nearby Czech villages.
Poland has ignored the injunction, saying that Turow mine and an adjacent power plant generate some 7% of the nation’s energy and light up millions of households. Warsaw also argues that it hasn’t complained about a number of large lignite mines that operate in the same area on the Czech and the German side of the border.
Last month, the court ordered that Poland pay a fine of 500,000 euros ($586,000) for each day it ignores its decision.
Talks with the Czech government have so far brought no solution.