Europe clears €1.79 billion Polish support for closing coal mines
The Commission concluded the support would not unduly distort competition.
Following the decision taken by Poland to close uncompetitive Polish coal mining units, in September 2016, Poland notified to the Commission plans to provide public funding of PLN 7.95 billion (approximately €1.79 billion) to ensure their orderly closure.
Responsibility for decisions on whether or not to close public coal mines rests with Member States. EU state aid rules allow Member States to support the closure of uncompetitive coal mines in order to alleviate the social and environmental impact.
The Commission's assessment has found that, in line with the Council Decision, the aid aims to ease the closure process by providing financial support totalling PLN 7.58 billion (approximately €1.71 billion) to those workers who have lost, or will lose, their jobs due to the closures.
In particular, the state support will fund severance payments, compensatory pensions and social security benefits for these workers.
Furthermore, it will be used to secure mine shafts and decommissioning of mine infrastructure, repair damage to the environment caused by mining and re-cultivate land after the mine closures.
The remainder of the aid will cover production losses of the mines until closure. ■