WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish coal miners angered by a European Union directive aiming to reduce methane emissions protested noisily Friday before the EU office in Warsaw saying it will deprive them of their jobs.
Some 300 miners chanted “Thieves” and used smoke flares and sirens to draw attention to their protest in the downtown area of Poland's capital. Traffic was temporarily closed in the area.
Protesting miners from the Solidarity 80 union said recent climate recommendations for the 27-member EU that call for a significant reduction of methane, starting in 2027, would force most of the nation's mines to close, with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.
The majority of Poland’s mines have a high presence of methane gas that gets released in the coal extraction process. That also leads to serious mining accidents as methane becomes explosive when mixed in low proportions with oxygen.
Located in the southern Silesia region, the coal mines are among Poland’s major employers, offering some 77,000 jobs in the nation of 38 million.