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News announcement29 June 2023Directorate-General for Energy

EU exchange programme for collaboration between coal regions in transition draws to a close


exchangeEU, the EU’s programme for cooperation between coal, lignite, peat, and oil shale regions in transition (known as “coal+” regions), has come to a successful conclusion today. Spanning two rounds of exchanges which took place between November 2021 and June 2023, the programme helped set up 17 exchanges among a total of 24 transitioning coal+ regions across the EU.

As part of the EU’s initiative for coal regions in transition, exchangeEU has supported the coal regions to share their knowledge and expertise with each other in order to help ensure a socially just clean energy transition for the regions, many of which are still highly dependent on the mining and/or burning of coal, lignite, peat and oil shale. Using the knowledge and network gained from the programme will allow participating regions to contribute towards achieving the EU’s ambition of reaching climate neutrality by 2050, under the Green Deal and FitFor55 Package.

(C)Emma Krause, exchangeEU

The benefits of exchange EU for participating regions have included

  • Hands-on learning opportunities with the potential to inform meaningful action
  • A community and network of practitioners for future collaboration
  • Innovative solutions customised for each participating region

In line with the measures being taken by the EU to ensure a socially-just energy transition, exchangeEU has empowered EU coal+ regions to prioritise the protection of workers and communities in the energy transition by using innovative technologies and diversifying their economies.

By pairing participating regions based on their specific experiences and needs, exchangeEU organised a series of engaging, tailor-made workshops and site visits for regional delegations. During these exchanges, regions shared their experiences, including the challenges encountered in implementing a socially-just transition. Discussions concentrated on key topics collaboratively identified by the regions, including energy communities, reskilling and upskilling workers, transition governance, and economic diversification strategies. Participating regions were equipped with practical insights into best practices on topics ranging from designing strategies, programmes and project calls to engaging with key stakeholders and designing a forward-looking vision for their region.  

Participants in Asturias, Spain looking at a model of former mining sites and current renewable energy assets
(C)Linda Beyschlag, exchangeEU

Through support to regions in overcoming common challenges, bridging regional disparities, fostering long-lasting networks and creating a community amongst European coal+ regions, exchangeEU has created immense value for the programme’s participants.


exchangeEU is part of the initiative for coal regions in transition and was implemented by a consortium led by Guidehouse and including ifok, ICLEIand Wuppertal Institute on behalf of DG Energy.

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Publication date
29 June 2023
Directorate-General for Energy