State aid: Commission approves €9.6 million Slovak support to Hornonitrianske bane Prievidza for closing coal mines

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Slovak plans to provide €9.6 million of public support co-funded by EU structural funds to coal mining company Hornonitrianske bane Prievidza (HBP) to alleviate the social impact of closing its mining units in Handlová and Nováky by 2023. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular Council Decision 2010/787/EU, which allows Member States to support the closure of uncompetitive coal mines in order to alleviate the social impact resulting from the closure. The Commission’s assessment has found that, in line with the Council decision, the aid aims to ease the closure process by providing financial support totalling €9.6 million to HBP in order to support the employees who will lose their jobs due to closures. In particular, the state support to HBP will cover the expenditure corresponding to the average salary of specific employees who would lose their jobs due to the closure of the mines. These employees will be taking part in a retraining programme for a maximum of six months, while still employed at HBP, which will help them find new jobs. On this basis, the Commission found that the Slovak measure is in line with EU State aid rules More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the State Aid Register under the case number SA.56844.