|Party:||Bündnis 90/Die Grünen|
R3: For a European Future without Coal - Stop the Turów coal mine!
For a European Future without Coal - Stop the Turów coal mine in the Polish-
German-Czech cross border region!
Resolution tabled by Partia Zieloni, Strana Zelených, Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen
We are in the middle of a climate crisis. Greens all over Europe are fighting
alongsidecivil society and millions of European citizens for a fast transition
towardsclimate neutrality in line with the Paris Agreement. Green policy is
built onrapidly expanding sustainable renewables, improving energy efficiency
and reducing energy demand while phasing out the most harmful fuels such as
coal. In regions that live off coal, such as the border region between Poland,
Czechia and Germany, these necessary transitions are causing profound
disruptions in the local labour market and creating a huge challenge for people
and the region as a whole. Therefore, we Greens believe that ambitious climate
goals must be based on a just transition: a Green and resilient recovery that
will help to kick-start the economy and get people back to work.
Near the tri-border point between Czechia, Poland and Germany and close to the
Polish city of Bogatynia, the Turów open-cast lignite mine and its power plant
are working unaffected by the need for a just transition to climate neutrality
–with severe negative impacts on water, air and soil in the surrounding
environment. While Poland is the largest hard coal and second largest lignite
producer in the EU, the catastrophic environmental consequences of a coal mine
like Turów do not stop at its borders. Lowering groundwater levels of more than
20 metres are threatening thousands of people in the Liberec Region in Czechia
with the loss of clean drinking water. Moreover, new studies estimate that, near
the German-Polish border, land subsidence will increase to a total of 1.2 metres
by 2044. In the centre of the German city of Zittau, it is estimated that land
subsidence will increase to a total of 36 to 72 cm.
The original licence for the mine, dated 1994, expired on 30 April 2020.
However, Michał Kurtyka, Poland’s Minister of Climate, extended the licence for
another six years without public consultations, which means citizens were unable
to exercise their right to object. Thus, the continuation of mining in the Turów
open-cast lignite mine violates EU law.
For all these reasons, people throughout the cross-border region continue
toprotest and several thousand have submitted a petition to the European
Parliament against the extension and expansion of the open-cast mine. Without
doubt, replacing the Turów lignite mine with a mix of renewable energy sources
located in Lower Silesia is beneficial to both the environment and people in the
region. The benefits will be even greater if such a transition is planned
between the three regions being impacted.
The European Greens support the protesters, environmental activists in the
region and local Greens in their goal to actively promote and shape the
structural change of the coal phase-out in line with the European Green Deal’s
objective of climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. But in harsh opposition
to this European objective, the open-cast lignite mine in Turów continues to
We therefore demand:
- AM-50-1 Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament
- AM-49-1 Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
- AM-51-1 Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
- If the European Commission’s ongoing mediation between Czechia and Poland
fails, the Commission must take legal action against Poland in the form of
an infringement procedure which will force the Polish government to comply
with the obligatory consultation mechanisms. The Commission should issue a
reasoned opinion thereby enabling Czechia to take the case to the EU Court
- The border region of Poland, Germany and Czechia should aim to become a
cross-border coal-exit region with the support of the sustainable use of
funding, such as the European Just Transition Fund, implementing cross-
border community projects on renewable energy and structural change.
- For a sustainable future, citizen participation is of the
highestimportance. In cross-border regions, we can see how Europe is
growing together from below. The promotion of cross-border civil society
cooperation, of encounters among people, should therefore be a priority
for regional and national governments and must be further developed.
- The mining must stop immediately – until all the legal issues have been
- We need a European end to coal. Therefore, governmental decisions to phase
out coal should not be undermined by outdated investment protection deals,
such as the Energy Charter Treaty which allows investors in fossil fuelsto
sue governments for compensation when they take action that harms their
profits. If no substantial reform of the treaty is in sight in the ongoing
negotiations, the EU must leave it.