Geographical Preconditions of the International Controversies Around the Turów Mine

Geographical Preconditions of the International Controversies Around the Turów Mine

Artur Boháč (Technical University of Liberec, Czech Republic), Ewa Łaźniewska (Poznań University of Economics and Business, Poland), and Joanna Kurowska-Pysz (WSB University in Dąbrowa Górnicza, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5976-8.ch008
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The chapter examines the physical-geographical and human-geographical characteristics of the Czech-Polish-German Three-border region, particularly the Turoszów Spur in Poland and its surroundings behind the borders. These characteristics differ within the region and influence socioeconomic settings and cross-border flows. Resulting asymmetries became more visible in connection with the controversies around the Turów Mine located in the Turoszów Spur. The arguments took place mainly between the Czech Republic and Poland. However, Germany cannot be overlooked due to its importance in the region. Countries neighboring the mine are not satisfied with its long-term effects on their border areas, and their attitudes were shared by the EU. The analysis is interdisciplinary and mainly grounded in geography, specifically neo-environmental determinism, and border studies, predominantly examining the effects of market forces and cross-border flows. The text aims to illustrate the significance of geographical factors in the small region without extreme geographical barriers or differences.
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Asymmetries in development and cross-border flows emerge even in cross-border areas within the EU where the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital and drawing funds from various EU programs exist. These differences can have roots at the state or regional level. The chapter focuses on the specific cross-border region in Central Europe, the Czech-Polish-German Three-border region. The studied region epitomizes a socioeconomic periphery or semiperiphery for all three countries because of its marginal location and complicated modern history. The most problematic areas within this border region are territorial protrusions such as the Turoszów Spur in Poland or Frýdlant Spur in the Czech Republic. These protrusions are the furthest from the countries' economic and administrative cores. Peripheral Turoszów Spur became internationally medialized because of the Czech-Polish conflict over the non-ecological operation of the Turów Mine in Poland. Controversies around the mine have broad geographical and socioeconomic reasons in the Turoszów Spur and surrounding territories in the Czech Republic and Germany. The quarrel between Poland and the Czech Republic was more heated than with Germany, so their issues and territorial conditions are highlighted. Also, the economic level of the German part of the region is significantly different from the Czech and Polish parts.

The text emphasizes the influence of geographical preconditions on asymmetries in socioeconomic matters and cross-border contacts leading to the escalation of the dispute, despite the currently promoted narrative of the decreasing importance of space within globalization and technology modernization. Scholars and the media have not yet reported such findings.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Three-Border Region: The cultural-historical region in southwestern Poland, southeastern Germany and the northern Czech Republic with towns Hrádek nad Nisou, Bogatynia and Zittau.

Border Effect: An effect of a border as a barrier of transport, lower intensity of cross-border flows means a more substantial border effect.

Neo-Environmental Determinism: An economic-geographic approach emphasizing geographical factors on an economy without imperial or racist trends of old environmental determinism.

Territorial Protrusion: A specific example of a periphery determined by a border shape when part of the territory of one territorial unit runs deeply into the territory of another unit.

Geographical Periphery: A lesser socioeconomically developed locality or region with insufficient linkages to developed territories.

Socioeconomic Asymmetry: A gap in socioeconomic markers between territories.

Cross-Border Cooperation: A collaboration between regions, municipalities or other subjects across borders, one of the foundations of European integration.

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