The Platform for Coal Regions in Transition was launched in December 2017, as part of the Coal and Carbon-Intensive Regions in Transition Initiative of the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package. The aim of the platform is to provide support for regions heavily involved in fossil fuel industries and provide opportunities for national, regional, and local representatives and EU staff to discuss how these regions can best decarbonise their economies. Officials from my Department and Bord na Móna have attended meetings of the Platform as observers. In March this year I wrote to Commissioner Canete requesting that Ireland’s Midlands region be included in the Platform. At the most recent meeting of the Platform, on 15-16 July, the European Commission announced that the Midlands region has now been included in the Platform. The formal confirmation is expected shortly.
Membership of the Platform enables the Midlands region to avail of the support of a dedicated Country Team, comprised of Commission experts, to assist with the development of strategies and projects for the region, focusing in particular on the employment challenges faced by workers affected by decarbonisation. The Team will also assist in identifying appropriate EU funding opportunities for the Midlands. The meetings of the Platform also enable the exchange of knowledge and ideas between carbon-intensive regions.
No new EU funds have been set up under this initiative. However, the European Parliament has proposed a €5 billion budget line in the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 currently being negotiated to support the just transition.