European coal mining regions face massive transformational challenges. The necessity of climate protection only intensifies a trend, prevalent in all of Europe: coal mining has been losing its economic importance over the last decades. Fewer and fewer people are employed in the sector. Coal regions face the challenge of how to facilitate a just transition, and which perspectives to develop for a future beyond coal.
Against this background this study analyses the current situation in four key European coal mining regions, namely: Aragon in Spain, Lusatia in Germany, Silesia in Poland and Western Macedonia in Greece. The study provides a brief summary of the regions' socio-economic structure, including the respective role of coal mining. An assessment of how existing European structural instruments, specifically the European Structural and Investment Funds (the ESI Funds) are utilised in the region, forms the core of the study.
"Our analysis shows that the coal mining regions use the ESI Funds in quite different ways. Only marginal funds are dedicated towards coal related projects. On the other hand the majority of funds is not explicitly used to support the transition away from coal," says Timon Wehnert, Vice Head Berlin Office and Project Co-ordinator in the Division Energy, Transport and Climate Policy at the Wuppertal Institute.
Based on the analysis, the authors developed recommendations for a more targeted support of coal regions through EU. "Already today, coal regions can use EU funds to facilitate the transition away from coal. However, ESI Funds could support European coal regions in this transition even better if specific criteria for coal regions were introduced," Timon Wehnert concludes.
The study has been commissioned by the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament. It can be found under the following link.