In May this year, the government and miners’ unions reached an agreement on the inevitable closure of Polish hard coal mines. It was then agreed that Polish coal-powered mines would be phased out by the end of 2049 and the mining industry would be supported in this period in the form of, among other things, subsidies to reduce production capacity. A condition for the implementation of such a system is the approval of the European Commission. At the beginning of December, after several months of preliminary talks on this issue, it was agreed that in January 2022 Poland would submit a formal notification request to the Commission, and the European Commission would consider the matter as soon as possible.
The project he was working on on Wednesday sigm, translates into law language Mayo’s arrangements for the government’s social contract with miners. It establishes, among other things, the rules for granting public support in the form of subsidies to reduce the production capacity of mines, provides for the suspension of repayment and targeted cancellation of certain obligations of mining companies to ZUS and PFR, and determines the possibility of increasing their capital by issuing treasury bonds.
The main proposal is submitted by the deputies, not the government
It also specifies the costs of these activities until the end of 2031, estimated at 28,821 million PLN, Planned debt write-off costs are not included. Adoption of the law would allow for payments to be suspended, while full implementation of all solutions proposed in the amendment would require notification from the European Commission.
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In the opposition debate on Wednesday, they referred, in their opinion, to the scandalous measure of the amendment presented by a group of deputies as a parliamentary bill. PeaceThat is, without the arrangements, consultation and broad discussion required for government bills. In turn, the Law and Justice Party supports the bill, considering it necessary.
Krzysztof Gadowski, MP, on behalf of the Civic Alliance, announced that this formation, recognizing the importance of the transformation process in mining and Silesia, will undertake further work on the project and support the transformation process. The problem requires serious support from the state budget, said Gadovsky, and no one says otherwise.
As evaluated it The seriousness of the problem calls for dealing with it in partnership with all interested parties, while the parliamentary project is dealt with very quickly.. The deputy introduced an amendment to the bill, obligating the government to submit annual reports on the implementation of the law to the House of Representatives.
In the opinion of Maciej Konieczny, MP for the left, the draft amendment is “extremely important for the future of the Polish energy sector and the future of Silesia”, as it concerns the implementation of a social contract for the mining industry, as well as reaching thousands of jobs in the region.
– this way of working (in the form of a parliamentary draft – editor’s note) is irresponsible, given the scale and importance of matters, Who are we talking about – said the deputy. At the same time, he declared that the left would vote on the amendment, despite doubts about the procedure to be followed, and realizing that preparing for the transition was the government’s responsibility.
MP Władysław Teofil Bartoszewski (PSL) emphasized in the debate that despite – in his assessment – the scandalous procedure and lack of information about the bill, the opposition did not vote against the amendment during the first reading in the Parliamentary Committee. We understand that mining needs help. This is the role of the government – this is what the government should do, not a group of MPs – said Bartoszewski, noting the possible incompatibility of some solutions to amend the Constitution.
Paulina Hennig-Kluska, Poland in 2050, emphasized that the necessary energy transition is a difficult process that requires frank and open discussion, which is not guaranteed by the method adopted for moving the project forward. As she said, MPs do not have the basic information they need for legislative work.
Union member Robert Winicki criticized the draft, saying that “this is a liquidation law, which serves to liquidate Poland’s hard coal mines”. – The deputy said that this is a radical and flagrant violation of the promises of the Law and Justice Party from the election campaign, since the early years of the government. He accused these mining unions of obstructing transformative activities in the industry for 30 years, and by signing a social contract in May, “betrayal”, and agreed to liquidate the mining industry.
The EU does not agree – says Winicki – and demands that Poland end the EU’s climate and energy package. Al-Ittihad club proposed nine amendments to the draft, which – as the representative said – “sends this law to the trash.”
Deputy Minister takes the floor
By answering members’ questions, Deputy Minister of State Assets Piotr Besik explained that the quick measure of the amendment stems from the need to ensure the financial liquidity of coal companies. (By, inter alia, suspending the payment of certain obligations to ZUS and PFR, totaling over PLN 1.8 billion).
confirmed that In the second half of January, Poland will submit a formal notification request to the European Commission on the mining support systemThe notification process may take about 10-12 months. Pyzik called for action on law and consensus outside political divisions, for the benefit of the mining industry and the Polish economy, as well as to create jobs in the coal sector. The deputy minister said he was “optimistic” about the European Commission’s notification of the bill.
In addition to budget subsidies to reduce the production capacity of mines, the project also provides for the suspension and recovery of social security contributions in the part financed by the employee and payer, the Labor Fund, the Solidarity Fund, the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund and the Bridge Retirement and Health Insurance Fund. These are old obligations of coal companies, the payment of which has been deferred in the past and distributed in installments – eventually they will be written off with the default interest, if the European Commission decides that such a recovery is compatible with the EU internal market. The repayment suspension and targeted forgiveness will also apply to the PLN 1 billion PLN loan from PFR that Polska Grupa Górnicza received this year.
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