Trade unionists from Solidarity protest at CJEU premises

On Friday, a demonstration of trade unionists from Solidarity union began in front of the seat of the Court of Justice of the EU in Luxembourg. It is a protest against the Court’s ruling in the case of the Turów lignite mine.

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“The Court of Justice of the EU behaves as if it operated in North Korea,” one of the organisers of the demonstration told the Polish Press Agency. Trade unions in yellow vests with the imprints “Hands off Turów” and banners such as “Yesterday Moscow, today Brussels, takes our sovereignty away” and how one person decided about hundreds of thousands of jobs, paralysing the entire region, plunging our families and us into energy poverty. We will never allow ourselves to be treated as political hostages. We are forced to defend our rights and jobs in any way available to us. Hence the protest,” the organiser explained.

“We want to convey a very simple message to the CJEU: this is not North Korea and the CJEU acts as if it were operating in North Korea - it makes decisions alone, condemning people to death,” said Wojciech Ilnicki, head of the Inter-Enterprise Committee of KWB Turów Solidarity, one of the organisers of the demonstration.

“We will not make any more mistakes, as in the 1990s, when the European Commission closed our shipyards, closed our mines, closed our steel mills. We will not allow that anymore.[…] We will not allow Poland’s and the EU’s energy security to be jeopardised,” said Piotr Duda, the head of the “Solidarity” during his appearance at the demonstration. He had invited MEPs from Poland “without exception” to the Friday demonstration. The Luxembourg authorities set the limit of participants in the demonstrations at 2,000 people.

The Turów mine and power plant are owned by PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Konwencjonalna company, a part of PGE Polish Energy Group. In 2020, the Polish Minister of Climate and Environment, Michał Kurtyka, extended the license for lignite mining in Turów for another six years, until 2026.

At the end of February, the Czech Republic filed a complaint against Poland regarding the expansion of the Turów mine to the CJEU together with a request to apply the so-called interim measures, i.e. an order to suspend production.

On May 21, the CJEU acceded to the Czech Republic’s request and ordered Poland to immediately suspend mining from the Turów mine until a substantive decision is made.

On September 20, the deputy head of the Court of Justice of the EU, Rosario Silva de Lapuerta, issued a decision, imposing on Poland EUR 500,000 penalties per day for non-implementation of interim measures and failure to stop lignite mining at the Turów mine.