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The Council today adopted a decision aimed at facilitating the transition of the specific state aid regime currently applying for the coal sector to the general state aid rules applicable to all sectors in the EU (16229/1/10 + COR 1).
The decision includes the following main elements:
The existing rules, in force since 2002 (regulation 1407/2002), will expire on 31 December 2010. The non-renewal of the special state aid regime would force some member states to close immediately uncompetitive hard coal mines, a situation that would entail serious social, technical and regional consequences.
Therefore the Commission proposed last July, after carrying out an impact analysis and a public consultation, to maintain a transitory period provided that the aid granted to non-sustainable mines should form part of a closure plan (12698/10).