EC to reject Polish plans on Silesian mines

On September 25, the government, in the person of the deputy minister of state assets, Artur Soboń, reached an agreement with the mining unions. The decision was made that the Silesian mines would be closed in 2049. Unfortunately, there are some symptoms that the European Commission will reject it.

At first glance, it seems to be an important step forward in the Polish energy transformation. However, two issues raise serious doubts here. The first is the expectation of support for production in unprofitable mines from EU funds. The second is the dependence on the shape of the contract with miners.

According to the text of the agreement, by December 25 this year, a social contract will “regulate the functioning of the hard coal sector”. In addition, there will also be an agreement on the transformation of the Śląskie Voivodeship. The social contract is to be presented to the EC and become the basis for EU state aid.

The money from the community would be spent on “financing the current production in order to ensure the stability of the hard coal mining companies”. In addition, “the agreement comes into force on the day of obtaining the consent of the European Commission for state aid, including subsidies to current production for the hard coal sector”.

300gospodarka asked Ana Crespo Parrondo, energy spokeswoman at the European Commission, whether there is a chance that the European community will support production in unprofitable mines.

“Regarding noncompetitive coal mines, the Council Decision of December 10, 2010, provides the legal basis for approving state aid for closure. The Council provides for two types of assistance. Aid for closure and aid to cover exceptional costs,” she said.

The EU is unlikely to agree to support the coal production. This is because the EU does not envisage state support for production in mines from 2018.

“The granting of aid for the closure of noncompetitive coal mines is no longer possible (this option expired on December 10, 2018), but Member States may still grant funds to cover exceptional costs resulting from the closure of the coal mines. They can be used to finance, among others severance pay, compensatory pensions and social benefits for workers who have lost their jobs,” the spokeswoman added, but referring only to the state’s closure costs, not production in mines.


Read More: EC to reject Polish plans on Silesian mines

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