Minister Czarnecka announced a meeting with unions regarding a social contract for the mining industry

Luc Williams

Minister Czarnecka participated in a press conference on Friday during official inauguration of the Ministry of Industry in Katowice.

Notification of the social contract with the EC suspended

She was asked whether the possible date of talks with the social party in connection with her application for… talks on a social contract regarding hard coal mining. The minister replied that such a meeting would take place “next week”, regardless of her previous meetings with trade unionists. “This will be another in a series of meetings,” the minister emphasized.

Regarding the issue notification of the social contract to the European CommissionCzarnecka informed that proceedings are already underway to change the notification application. “The social contract remains valid, but we are currently working on changing the content of the application because the application was written incorrectly,” she repeated the information provided in mid-February.

It is about application for notification a social agreement signed in May 2021, regulating the principles and pace of phasing out of thermal coal mines in Poland by 2049. The document assumes subsidizing the industry in this period in the form of budget subsidies to reduce the production capacity of mines. This requires the consent of the European Commission. The previous government did not carry out the notification.

Meeting with EU commissioners

Minister Czarnecka met on February 5 this year. With Vice-President of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestagerresponsible for digitalization and competition issues and Vice-President of the European Commission for interinstitutional relations and foresight, Maroš Šefčovič. He also attended the meeting head of the Ministry of State Assets, Borys Budka.

As the head of MP reported at a briefing on February 16, it was established that social contract with trade unions “is still valid, only the submitted application regarding notification of state aid is poorly prepared, inappropriate and requires correction.” “We will proceed with such a correction from March 1, 2024, when the ministry will be established,” she said.

She was then asked about the detailed provisions of the notification application, including, among others: whether the timeline of operation of individual mines will be negotiated, the minister replied that “the social contract remains valid – it will not be subject to negotiations.” “To put it colloquially: the social contract is not subject to change, but we are in the process of changing the proposal,” she clarified.

Protest by the former deputy minister of MAP

The vice-chairman of the Silesian structures of Law and Justice, former deputy minister of state assets responsible for mining, does not agree with the opinion that the application for notification was improperly prepared, MP Marek Wesoły.

“I absolutely do not agree that the application was poorly drafted. What did our successors inherit from us? First of all, a very well negotiated social contract, in peace and quiet. Is two years a long time since we completed difficult negotiations with the social side? Considering that it was a period of pandemic and crises, it seems not much,” Wesoły said in a Wednesday interview on Radio Katowice.

He pointed to – in his opinion – the political sluggishness of the EU structures. “Because if European Union Formally, it has 30 days to respond to the Polish side, but it does not respond for 180 days, this is not correct diplomatic policy,” Wesoły argued. “After 180 days, I have not received a response to the correction submitted to the notification application,” added the former deputy head of MAP.

author: Mateusz Babak


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