During the energy transition towards the low-emission economy, the EU energy system faces a period of profound technological, economic and social change that will affect many of the energy sectors, including the coal industry and hence the coal-mining regions of the EU. However, the currently active coal-mining regions have to prepare for the phasing-out of coal production to be in line with EU energy and climate policy decisions on fossil fuel use or for economic reasons.
Phasing out the use of coal for energy purposes in these regions cannot be allowed to lead to their stagnation. In view of their economic and social potential, these regions must be involved in implementing the EU's energy and climate policy. The sustainable development of these regions must be achieved through the guarantee of political, civic and social dialogues which must ensure that there are plans for transition at national, industry and enterprise levels.
To preserve energy security, a competitive industry, environmental protection, compliance with GHG emission reduction obligations and social cohesion in coal-mining regions, the EESC recommends a "Transition Support Plan for the Communities and Regions Dependent on Coal Production", to address coal industry restructuring issues during the energy transition so that coal-mining regions can adapt to change.
On 11 December 2017 the European Commission, recognising the importance of our opinion, launched a Platform on Coal Regions in Transition to help regions with coal mining activities identify, develop and implement projects which have the potential to kick-start viable economic and technological transformation, and to enable multi-stakeholder dialogue on policy framework and regulations. The CCMI participated actively in its launch in Strasbourg, at the invitation of the European Commission, to present the conclusions of its opinion CCMI/138 "Indigenous coal in the EU energy transition". The Commission welcomes the mutually beneficial cooperation between our actions and the DG ENER initiative organising platforms that will provide the civil society position by bringing together all interested stakeholders.