The European Union will fine Poland for breaching EU legislation on renewable energy sources. The country of 38 million is heavily dependent on coal, which is why Warsaw finds adhering to the rules on the use of renewables rather difficult. According to Melchior Wathelet, the senior legal advisor to the European Union’s top court, Warsaw is facing a fine of about 61,380 euros per day. Poland has not fulfilled its obligations under the EU climate and energy package, which aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by a fifth from 1990 levels by 2020. The country has specifically failed to implement EU legislation on renewables into its national law.
This case was initially brought up by the EU Commission, the block’s executive arm, which drafts and enforces laws for all member states. The advocate general commented that “since it persisted in failing to fulfil its obligations… Poland should be ordered to pay a daily penalty payment of 61,380 euros effective from the date of the delivery of the Court’s judgment”. Although legal advice of the EU advocate general is not final, the European Court of Justice usually follows these opinions when giving judgment. The date for judgment has not yet been set.
Poland has embarked on a very successful path of economic development. Since the fall of communism, the country has been steadily growing, being one of very few countries maintaining an economic growth even during the recent crisis. However, Poland is almost entirely reliant on pollutant forms of energy, mostly coal, which made Warsaw threaten to veto a new EU climate agreement on 2030 targets. Poland is simply afraid that it could be very costly for the country to implement renewables-friendly legislation.