Poland recalls ambassador to Prague for comments on coal mines

Poland recalls new ambassador to Prague after criticizing country’s approach to dispute with Czech Republic over state-run coal mine

WARSAW, Poland – Poland recalls its new ambassador to Prague after criticizing the country’s approach to a dispute with the Czech Republic over a state-run coal mine.

Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller wrote on Twitter Thursday evening that the ambassador’s remarks were “extremely irresponsible” and that the process was underway for the diplomat’s recall. He said every diplomat should protect the interests of Poland.

In an interview published on Thursday by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Ambassador Miroslaw Jasinski said Poland had shown “a lack of empathy, understanding and willingness to engage in dialogue” with the Czech Republic.

Jasinski, who became Polish ambassador to the Czech Republic last month, mainly criticized the mine’s management for failing to resolve the conflict and allowing it to turn into a government-level dispute.

“Let’s be honest and admit that, despite everything, the reason for the dispute was the arrogance of some people,” Jasinski said in his interview with Deutsche Welle.

“First from the management of the mine. Then there is the management of the (state-run energy giant) the EMP, and light years away from that are the ministries and the prime minister, ”Jasinski said.

The mine has also been a source of tension between Poland and the European Union. In October, the European Court of Justice fined Poland 500,000 euros ($ 600,000) a day for failing to comply with its May injunction to shut down the Turow mine.

By refusing to close the vast open-pit mine, the Polish government has argued that it is powering a power plant that generates around 7% of the country’s energy. Warsaw also refuses to pay the fine, saying the European Court does not have the power to impose it.

The new Czech government aims to phase out coal from power generation by 2033 while increasing the country’s dependence on nuclear and renewable sources.

Poland, which depends on coal for nearly 70% of its electricity production and some 80,000 jobs, says it needs a phased exit and has set its target date of 2049.

Berta D. Wells