The European Commission has adopted a reasoned opinion in proceedings initiated by the Czech Republic against Poland under Art. 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This opens the possibility for the Czech Republic to refer the case to the European Court of Justice.
On 17th of December The Commission adopted a reasoned opinion in a procedure brought by Czechia against Poland under Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Czechia has claimed that Poland infringed European Union law by certain actions undertaken as part of the procedure for prolonging the mining concession of the Turów lignite coal mine until 2026.
In the event of a dispute between two Member States, Article 259 provides that the matter must first be brought to the attention of the Commission, which has three months to issue a reasoned opinion, after giving both sides an opportunity to submit their observations. If the Commission has not delivered an opinion within those three months, the absence of such an opinion shall not prevent the matter from being brought before the court.
Czechia submitted a complaint to the Commission on 30 September 2020, and after that the Commission heard Czechia and Poland. In its reasoned opinion, the Commission considers that Poland has committed some of the infringements of EU law that Czechia had raised in their complaint but not all.
First, the Commission considers that Polish law incorrectly transposes the access to justice provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (2011/92/EU). The lack of compatibility of the relevant Polish law with Directive 2011/92 is also subject to a pending infringement procedure pursuant to Article 258 TFEU.
Second, in the context of the procedure prolonging the mining concession for the Turów lignite coal mine, the Commission considers that the Polish authorities have incorrectly applied the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (2011/92/EU) and access to information Directive (2003/4/EC), as regards information to the public and Member States involved in transboundary consultations, access to justice, as well as the principle of loyal cooperation enshrined in Article 4(3) of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU).
Other infringements alleged by Czechia, in particular in relation to the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive (2001/42/EC) and the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), were considered as unfounded by the Commission, based on the evidence and arguments put forward by the two Member States.
Following the adoption of the reasoned opinion by the Commission, Czechia may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU. This does not preclude the parties from finding an amicable settlement to the dispute.
The elections for the mayor of Bogatynia were postponed to January 24 "due to the epidemic threat". The regulation was issued by the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The early elections were to take place on November 15, then they were postponed to December 20.
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