EU to Begin Withholding Millions in Polish Funds for Unpaid Fine
(Bloomberg) -- The European Union is preparing to withhold budget payments to Poland for refusing to comply with a 500,000 euro-a-day ($568,150) fine. The total amount Warsaw owes is now more than 50 million euros.
The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, has sent Warsaw three requests for payment and informed the government that a late fee would begin accruing as well, according to a commission spokesperson.
The block could happen within the coming days or weeks.
The European Court of Justice ordered the financial punishment in September after Poland failed to comply with a ruling to shut down its Turow lignite mine, which the Czech Republic says is draining water reserves from the border region. The Polish government says the facility provides fuel to a nearby power station that accounts for as much as 7% of the country’s power supply.
Blocking the budget payments is the latest clash between Poland and the EU, which has accused the nationalist government of democratic backsliding. The bloc is also withholding Poland’s request for 36 billion euros from the EU recovery fund over rule-of-law concerns.
A Polish government spokesperson told local media last month that the country doesn’t plan to pay the fine related to the Turow mine.
In a separate case in October, the EU Court of Justice hit Poland with a record 1 million-euro daily fine over the governments sweeping judicial reforms, prompting accusations of “blackmail” from Warsaw.
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