Polish workers fear job losses after EU ruling to close lignite mine

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By Philip Andrew Churm  with TVP
Polish workers fear job losses after EU ruling to close lignite mine
Copyright  Petr David Josek/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Politicians in Poland along with people living in the south-west of the country have criticised a ruling by the European Court of Justice to close one of the nation's biggest lignite coal mines.

Turów is on the border of Czechia and Germany and it was the Czech government that took legal action to close the mine.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the decision was disproportionate and against EU principles.

Bogatynia's mayor, Wojciech Dobrolowicz, also condemned the move.

"In this case the Court of Justice has nothing to do with justice," he said.

"They do not take into account the people, their existence, their daily maintenance, they do not take into account the country's energy security."

It is not just politicians who are concerned. People living nearby are also angry at the ruling.

"It would be hard," said one man. "A lot of people would lose jobs, our region would break down. It's tough anyway. I can not imagine it."

He is not alone. "I have been working for 27 years," said a local woman.

"What am I supposed to do next? Where should I go to work when they close the mine? It is a drama."

65 percent of Poland's energy comes from coal and 17 percent of that is lignite, which is brown coal that creates more pollution than other types.

Poland plans to shut down all of its coal mines by 2049.