Big Story 10

EU clears $1.9 billion Polish support for mine closures

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Friday it had cleared Poland’s plan to provide 7.95 billion Polish zloty ($1.90 billion) of support to close uncompetitive coal mines by 2018.

The bulk of the funds, 7.58 billion zloty, will help workers who have lost or will lose their jobs and cover decommissioning of the mine infrastructure and repairs of environmental damage. The remainder will cover production losses of the mines until closure.

Under EU rules, state support for mine closures requires that mining to cease by the end of 2018 and that aid to cover exceptional costs be paid out until 2027 based on an agreed closure plan.

Poland generates most of its electricity in outdated coal-fired power stations. The oldest and least effective ones will have to be closed in coming years under European Union regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; Eiditing by Alissa de Carbonnel