|Romania to close unprofitable coal mines by granting state support
Romania on Thursday received approval from the European Commission (EC) for its project to close two uncompetitive coal mines by granting state support.
Romania notified the Commission earlier this month its plans to provide public funding of 447.8 million lei (105 million U.S. dollars) to ensure the orderly closure of two uncompetitive coal mining units by 2018.
The EC said in a press statement that it found Romania's plans to provide support to alleviate the social and environmental impact of the closures to be in line with EU state aid rules, concluding at the same time that the support would not unduly distort competition.
According to the support plans, the aid aims to ease the closure process by providing financial support totaling 233.7 million lei to those workers who will lose their jobs due to the closures. The remainder of the aid will cover production losses of the mines until closure.
Since 1989, the main mining area located in Jiu Valley of southwestern Romania has received subsidies worth several hundred million dollars.
In 2012, the Bucharest authorities have promised Brussels that the country will gradually reduce state aid to unprofitable mines and will focus on renewable energy. (1 U.S. dollar = 4.27 lei)