Frequently Asked Questions

The importance of coal in energy production has been steadily declining for decades, due to the growing competitiveness of renewables and natural gas, and the European Union’s increasingly stringent climate policy regulations, stemming from growing concerns about climate change and air pollution. Because coal-based energy production has the highest CO2 emission rate, the European Union has been taking steps to phase-out coal and develop a carbon-neutral economy.

Coal regions are historically important coal mining areas, where even if coal’s significance has decreased over the years, it had or still has a strong impact on the area’s culture, history and society. Areas and communities that have a strong industrial reliance on coal may be considered part of the coal region as well, even if they are not involved in mining it. Coal regions are usually spread across multiple administrative areas, therefore addressing issues concerning them requires active cooperation between various administrative units and governmental levels.

The burdens and benefits of coal mining are not evenly distributed between regions, or even the EU Member States. As a result, the social and economic impacts of the coal phase-out also materialize differently. The principle behind Just Transition is to ensure the protection of workers and communities who specialize in carbon intensive activities and whose livelihoods may be jeopardized by the transition to a low-carbon or carbon-neutral economy. It aims to prevent the social and economic lagging of coal regions and to share the burdens rising from the transition.

is a financial tool created by the EU to support regions, sectors and workers most affected by the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. The aim of the fund is to support economic diversification and restructuring to alleviate the socio-economic costs and burdens of the coal phase-out. It achieves this goal by supporting retraining, research and innovation, environmental rehabilitation, and by investing in small and medium-sized enterprises among other things.

The European Union’s funding instrument that aims to contribute to the implementation of the EU’s environmental and climate goals. Since the LIFE programme’s beginning in 1992, it has co-financed over 4000 projects related to climate change, biodiversity and environmental protection, life quality and energy transition. 

A project category within the LIFE Programme that was introduced in 2014 to enable authorities in the Member States to fully implement the national and EU environmental and climate legislation. These large scale projects support the implementation of environment, nature and climate change action plans and strategies developed for regional, multi-regional, national or EU levels.

NECPs are the national frameworks of the EU Member States for the period between 2021 and 2030 that outline the climate and energy objectives of each country and the steps and directives needed to achieve these and the common climate related goals of the EU.