On 14 July 2020, the PETI Committee held a public hearing on a petition against the expansion of the Turow lignite mine. The petition reveals that the expansion of Turow will lead to a serious loss of drinking water in the Czech Republic. According to the information presented by the Commission at the hearing, the Czech Republic had reported the issue to the Commission using a mechanism prescribed by Article 12 of the Water Framework Directive.
On 17 September 2020, Czech Member of the European Parliament Mikulas Peksa of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission asking the Commission “what exactly was the content and timing of the Czech report to the Commission?’ and “were any recommendations provided on how the problem might be resolved?”
He also asked the Commission “what steps has it taken so far to try to resolve this bilateral Polish-Czech issue?” and “as the matter is supposed to be dealt with within six months, what other steps is it planning in order to resolve it?”
On 02 December, Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, responsible for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, responded on behalf of the European Commission. “On 30 September 2020, Czechia complained to the Commission about an alleged infringement of European Union law by Poland under Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) concerning the prolongation of the mining concession for the Turów lignite mine” reported Sinkevicius.
Commissioner Sinkevicius further stated that “this interstate infringement procedure takes priority over other procedures, such as the dialogue procedure under Article 12 of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), EU pilot investigations or petitions” and “the Commission cannot disclose the content of this interstate infringement procedure at this stage”. In ending, the Commissioner declared that “the Commission will resume the procedure under Article 12 of the WFD once the interstate infringement procedure is concluded”.
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