The scheme was originally approved by the European Commission in November 2016 (SA.41161), after which amendments were approved in February 2018 (SA.46891) and in July 2019 (SA.52832), and is due to expire by the end of 2023. Since 2019, the aim of the scheme has been limited to cover only the exceptional social and environmental costs resulting from the closure of uncompetitive coal mines that ceased operations by the end of 2018, such as the costs of social welfare benefits or early retirement, or costs incurred in safety or in site decommissioning and rehabilitation.
The amendments to this scheme that were approved today include
- its prolongation until the end of 2027
- a budget increase by €1 billion (PLN 5 billion) to cover exceptional costs, bringing the overall budget to €3.7 billion (PLN 17 billion)
- the inclusion of two additional mines that ceased coal production in 2020 (Ruch Jastrzębie III) and 2021 (Ruch Pokój II)
The Commission assessed the amended scheme under EU State aid rules, and in particular Council Decision 2010/787/EU on State aid to facilitate the closure of uncompetitive coal mines. The Commission found that the amended scheme continues to be necessary and appropriate to support the closure process of mines that ceased operations, by (i) providing financial support to workers who have lost, or will lose, their jobs due to the closure of the mines, and (ii) helping to secure mine shafts and decommission mine infrastructure, repair damage to the environment caused by mining and re-cultivate land after the mine closures. Furthermore, the Commission found that the aid amounts do not exceed the exceptional social and environmental costs incurred. On this basis, the Commission approved the amended Polish scheme under EU State aid rules.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under case number SA.100533 in the State Aid Register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.