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Monday, September 27, 2021

The mining program. Deputy Minister of State Assets Artur Soboń on talks in Brussels

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Deputy Minister of State Assets, Artur Soboń, said that a meeting of the Polish side with representatives of the European Commission was planned in Brussels next Monday. It is about the pre-notification of the program for the hard coal mining industry, which was based on the provisions of the social contract regarding the transformation of this industry.

In the backstage of the 30th Economic Forum that began in Karpacz on Tuesday, Soboń said that the Polish side had prepared detailed answers to numerous questions addressed by the European Commission regarding the mining program.


Program for the Polish mining industry – talks with Brussels

The basis of the program is the one signed in May this year. social contract with trade unions. It defines the rules and pace of extinguishing Polish hard coal (power) coal mines by 2049. The document includes, among others guarantees of employment and social protection for miners, provides for subsidies to reduce production capacity and creates mechanisms supporting the transformation of Silesia.

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The condition for the entry into force of the agreement is the consent of the European Commission to state aid for the mining industry on the terms proposed by the Polish side. On the basis of the social contract in Brussels, a pre-notification application was submitted; Currently, the Ministry of Assets has prepared answers to an additional question from the Commission on this matter.

– On Monday we will talk about it with the European Commission in Brussels. We answer all questions, we are in the pre-notification process, we are in dialogue – said the deputy minister on Tuesday.

NABE and the energy program

Asked whether, after the creation of the National Energy Security Agency (it is to take over power units based on coal and lignite mines), the program for the energy sector will also require EU notification, Soboń said that it was not yet a foregone conclusion.

– In this case, pre-notification and notification will not necessarily be needed. It will depend on the necessity of applying state aid mechanisms (for NABE – ed.). Today I do not prejudge how it will happen – said the deputy minister, noting that the Polish side informs the European Commission on an ongoing basis about its intentions regarding the transformation of coal energy.

The pre-notification application for the mining program was submitted in May this year. in accordance with the state aid form, in cooperation with the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. Formally, it is not a notification of a social contract concluded with mining trade unions, but a pre-notification of an application prepared on the basis of a signed social contract.

The Treasury wants to take over three companies

State aid, incl. subsidies to reduce production capacity will cover the mines of the companies: Polska Grupa Górnicza, Tauron Wydobycie and Węglokoks Kraj. By the end of this year, the shares in these three companies are to be taken over by the State Treasury.

As Soboń informed earlier, MAP informs the social side about the scope of the talks conducted with the Commission. – They concern all issues related to eligible costs and the support instruments themselves that the European Commission has prepared, i.e. The Just Transformation Fund and the way of linking these two instruments – said the deputy head of MAP last Friday in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, assessing that in a situation when the Polish side will already have the directional consent of the European Commission on the program for mining, it will be ready to promptly notify it.

– We practically have the law ready, so if there was a directional consent of the Commission, then of course we will formally start the notification – because notification is a much more formal process than pre-notification – said Artur Soboń last week.


Main photo source: Shutterstock

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