Is this the future of Polish mines? The EC confirms

Luc Williams

On Monday, Czarnecka met in Brussels with EU commissioners Margrethe Vestager (executive vice-president for a Europe fit for the digital age) and Maroš Šefčovič (executive vice-president for the European Green Deal, inter-institutional relations and foresight). The talks concerned the consent of the European Commission to support the Polish mining sector.

Czarnecka announced such a meeting last year, when she announced that one of her priorities as the newly appointed minister would be to obtain the EC’s consent to provide state aid for the mining industry.

Let us recall: at the beginning of 2022, the Polish government submitted a notification application to the European Commission regarding consent to aid for Polish hard coal mines until 2030. The value of the aid is PLN 28.8 billion. In exchange for the EC’s consent, our mines would reduce production and gradually close until 2049.

“Regarding aid for hard coal, it was agreed to continue work on the program and further process the application based on the mining social agreement and the submitted notification application,” we read in a statement issued after Monday’s meeting.

There is consent for an employee support program

In the field of public aid for lignite, the European Commission has specifically approved public aid for a social package dedicated to employees of the industry.

“The European Commission announced that it has approved a Polish state aid program worth EUR 300 million to alleviate the social costs associated with the closure of coal- and lignite-fired power plants and lignite mines,” the statement said.

This support is to take the form of an annual severance pay, which employees can opt for in lieu of the severance pay provided for in applicable collective bargaining agreements. The program is to be implemented for 10 years, i.e. until February 2034. After this period, Poland may apply for an extension of the program.

Borys Budka, Minister of State Assets, was also present in Brussels, together with Czarnecka. The talks with the EC also concerned the future of the postal sector and Poczta Polska, which remains under the responsibility of MAP.


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