Dr Lefteris Topaloglou, Director of LGA-WM, participated in the High-Level Policy Talk on Coal Regions in Transition and the Energy Community, taken place on 13 September 2019 in Warsaw, Poland. The Energy Community Secretariat was responsible for organizing a substantial part of the activities under the Energy Community Treaty. The participation of representatives from all involved parties to these events is very important for the continued development of the Energy Community.

Today, the Platform covers 41 regions in 12 EU countries, with a most active participation from Poland, Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, Romania, Greece, Spain and Slovenia. Over 900 stakeholders have engaged on a more or less regular basis in its activities.

The purpose of the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition is:

1. To create a sense of community between stakeholders, by allowing them to exchange on their common issues, challenges and possible solutions;

2. Develop a common understanding of what a just, well-planned transition is;

3. Engage all stakeholders in discussions on a positive agenda, focused on the future development of the region, in order to build bridges between the (often-polarised) positions of different stakeholders.

To this end, instead of focusing debates on divisive issues such as phase out dates, Platform participants acknowledge that economic conditions and climate policies make the transition away from coal inevitable, and that preparatory measures have to be designed and adopted to ensure a ‘just transition’ and avoid the consequences of an unplanned exit from coal.

This approach has proved successful in engaging stakeholders to discuss and shape together a common vision of a future-proof, climate-friendly development of coal regions, benefiting the regions and their inhabitants.