Czechs, Poles make progress towards solving Turow mine dispute -Czech minister

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Czechs at Polish borderlands lose water and patience in coal mine dispute

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic and Poland made a "significant progress" toward solving a dispute over the Turow lignite mine during talks on Friday, Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec said.

The talks followed a ruling by Europe's top court on Monday, that ordered Poland to pay a 500,000-euro daily penalty to the European Commission for defying an earlier court ruling to halt operations in the open-pit mine.

The court ruled upon a request from the Czech Republic, whose government says the mine, located next to the shared border, is damaging communities on the Czech side. Poland vowed to keep the mine running.

Brabec said the dispute could be solved out of court.

"After today's talks, we see a significant progress in some of the points and we believe that after further talks... there will be more progress," he said at a televised press conference.

Brabec said that he expected to meet his Polish counterpart, Michal Kurtyka, on Monday, and after that expert teams would meet next week too.

"We are still interested in an agreement, not to escalate this further... we both have lines which we cannot cross, but we see the possibility to reach an agreement," Brabec said.

The Turow mine has been operating for more than a century, but has recently expanded further towards the Czech border.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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