Brussels, 23 January 2013
State aid: Commission approves aid for closure of coal mine in Hungary
The European Commission has authorised HUF 42,247 million (approximately €140 million) of public funding for the closure of an uncompetitive coal mine in Hungary, the Márkushegy Mine. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules because production aid will decrease over time and Hungary committed to carry out accompanying measures to mitigate the social and environmental impact of the closure.
Commission Vice President Joaquín Almunia, in charge of competition policy, said: "These measures will facilitate the process towards the unavoidable closure of this mine at the end of 2014, helping those who suffer from such painful restructuring and mitigating the impact of coal production on the environment".
Council Decision 2010/787/EU on state aid to facilitate the closure of uncompetitive coal mines allows Member States to grant, under certain conditions, aid to the coal industry with a view to facilitating the closure of uncompetitive hard coal mines until December 2018.
The Márkushegy Mine is operated by Vértes Power Plant and produces coal used for the production of electricity and heat. Coal production will cease at the end of 2014.
The closure plan notified by Hungary results in a gradual decrease of the overall amount of aid granted to cover production costs, in line with the Council Decision. Moreover, the plan includes measures to mitigate the environmental impact of the production of coal. Hungary has also committed to support miners who will lose their jobs and their re-adaptation in order to help them find new jobs outside the coal industry.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.33861 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.
Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)
Maria Madrid Pina (+32 2 295 45 30)