Regions phasing out coal in Europe: the EESC takes a close look at Germany

The first round table on coal regions in transition was held on 29 May 2018 in Grevenbroich, Germany. Together with EESC members and a Commission representative, a number of local players took part in the discussion.

The speakers outlined the situation in the Rhine mining area, which is being affected by structural changes. The participants stressed that a preventive approach and preparation for the transition was needed. Creating alternatives to coal is a major challenge and one of the main goals for the region is to remain a key player in the secure supply of energy to Germany.

Municipalities have an important role to play in informing people and helping them understand the situation. The speakers highlighted that the key to reaching the goals was the flexibility of the system, and that it was important to look into cross-regional, cross-industrial and cross-sectoral aspects.

Energy supply is the most critical part of all supply networks, but the links between different sectors - e.g. plastics, traffic, gas production - can guarantee security of supply. Projects were presented on education and training and decentralised energy management. After the discussion, the participants paid a visit to Garzweiler opencast mine. (sma)