European Commission OK with Romanian support for closing coal mines
The Commission concluded the support would not unduly distort competition.
Following the decision taken by Romania to close two uncompetitive coal mining units, in November 2016, Romania notified to the Commission plans to provide public funding of RON 447.8 million (approximately €99 million) 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 RON 233.7 million (€52 million) to those workers who will lose their jobs due to the closures.
In particular, the state support will fund compensation salaries for the laid-off personnel and programmes to retrain former employees to work in alternative professions and other social security benefits for these workers.
Furthermore, this support will be used to undertake necessary underground safety measures related to the closure, to rehabilitate the mining sites and to re-cultivate land after the mine closures.
The remainder of the aid totalling RON 214.1 million (€47 million) will cover production losses of the mines until closure. ■