The new European subsidy instrument, the Operational Programme Just Transition, aims to address the impacts of the shift away from coal in the most affected regions of the Czech Republic. In the coming years, the Karlovy Vary, Moravian-Silesian and Ústí nad Labem Regions will face major socio-economic and environmental challenges associated with the transition to a climate-neutral economy.
The programme aims to mitigate the impacts of the transition process on the economy, the population and the environment, in particular to provide jobs for workers leaving the coal industry, to improve public services or to restore landscapes affected by mining.
The programme is funded by the European Just Transition Fund and a total of CZK 42.7 billion is available for the period 2021-2027. After deducting the technical assistance funds, the regions will share CZK 41 billion.
The State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic, as the intermediary body, administers the received applications for aid. The managing authority of the programme is the Ministry of the Environment.
Extra aid for the most affected coal regions
Regions most affected by the shift away from coal will be able to benefit from the Just Transition Operational Programme:
- The Karlovy Vary Region, the least economically developed region with significant lignite mining and related industries
- The Ústí nad Labem Region, the second weakest region economically, characterised by the most extensive lignite mining with a significant impact on the landscape and the quality of life of its inhabitants and energy-intensive industry
- The Moravian-Silesian Region, which is in many respects not an economically weak region, but where heavy industry and the effects of coal mining in the form of an affected landscape persist
What the aid can be used for
The range of measures supported is wide. The funds can be used by coal regions to mitigate the impact of the shift away from coal mining: retraining workers, transforming existing businesses towards low-carbon operations, promoting innovation, investing in start-ups, productive investment in SMEs and regenerating underused sites. Funding will also go to clean energy and energy savings, digitisation, the circular economy or research and innovation.
The main areas that can be supported include:
- small and medium-sized enterprises
- research and innovation
- clean energy and energy savings
- circular economy
- land reclamation and reuse
- retraining and job search assistance
Who can apply for funding
Applicants may be:
- local governments
- contributory organisations
- business entities (especially small and medium-sized enterprises)
- state-owned enterprises and organisations
- organisational units of the State
- public law bodies
- universities, educational establishments and research institutions
What is the duration of the programme
The programme is planned for the period 2021-2027. Eligibility of expenditure starts in 2021 and ends in 2029, when the programme will be finally closed.
What forms of aid does the programme offer?
- Strategic projects – complex projects with significant transformational impact recommended by individual regions.
- Thematic calls – project calls for a wide range of applicants according to individual themes and areas of support.
- Group projects – project calls focused on smaller and similar types of projects, which are continuously announced and administered by individual regions.
How applications are submitted
Applications may be submitted using the Czech website www.opst.cz.