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exchangeEU programme

exchangeEU facilitates cooperation and exchange between EU coal, lignite, peat and oil shale regions to foster a just energy transition.


Launched in November 2021, exchangeEU is the exchange programme for coal, lignite, peat and oil shale (coal+) regions in transition in the EU. It provides an opportunity for peer-to-peer encounters with the goal to establish long-term connections that can accelerate the clean energy transition across different regions in the EU.

The exchange programme is part of the Initiative for coal regions in transition and is implemented by a consortium led by Guidehouse and including ifok, ICLEI and Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy, on behalf of DG Energy.

Selected participants 2023

For the second round of exchangeEU, 17 coal+ regions have been selected to participate in the programme. Based on the assessment, 22 selected delegations have been paired up with one another to form 9 sets of exchange partners, divided into 5 pairs and 4 triangles. The participating regions represent a total of 11 EU Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

The exchanges will take place between the following regions:

  • Match 1: Ida-Virumaa, EE - Western Macedonia, EL - Sisak-Moslavina County, HR
  • Match 2: Eastern Cohesion Region, represented by the City of Velenje, SI - Bytom, PL
  • Match 3: Ústí, CZ - Asturias, ES - Upper Nitra Region, SK
  • Match 4: Western Macedonia, EL - Ida-Virumaa, EE - Moravia-Silesia, CZ
  • Match 5: Lusatia, DE - Turów, PL
  • Match 6: Northern Hungary, HU - Upper Nitra, SK - Western Macedonia, EL
  • Match 7: Northern Hungary, HU - Zasavje, SI
  • Match 8: Stara Zagora, BG - Karlovy Vary, CZ
  • Match 9: Rheinish Region, DE - Wielkopolska, PL


Between January and May 2023, delegations from the selected regions will come together, share experiences and work on issues related to a just transition for coal regions. The exchanges aim at fostering peer-to-peer learning between these regions, developing strategies for a just transition and establishing a lasting network.

Further information on all matches and documentation of the exchanges will be updated on this webpage once available. Initial in-person visits within the first round of exchanges took place in May-September 2022. For more information, review the information leaflets here.

Goals and benefits

exchangeEU sets out to establish meaningful and tangible exchanges between coal+ regions and aims to produce demonstrable long-term learnings and benefits. The exchanges are designed to set a foundation on which the participating regions can build cooperations in order to foster a just energy transition.

Participating regions get a chance to capitalize on the following benefits of exchangeEU:

  • Demand-driven programme design tailored to the participating regions
  • Hands-on learning opportunities and tangible results to take meaningful actions together
  • Creating a community and network of practitioners with a lasting impact and benefit from other experiences and results
  • Innovative and customized solutions for every participating region

Formats on offer

Matched regions have the chance to engage with each other in one tailor-made exchange format. This will take the form of either an on-site visit of one selected region of the pairing (the hosting region) or via an online format. The application process will allow for the selection of one of two main exchange formats, both of which can be conducted on-site as well as online:

  • Group workshops to share lessons learned or best practice examples and build upon them to generate new ideas or solve a common challenge. This may include site visits if suitable.
  • Peer-to-peer learning on the job, with replicable examples or one-on-one mentoring.

Regions are however strongly encouraged to propose their own exchange format to meet their specific needs and create innovative approaches for joint learning and peer-to-peer encounters.

exchangeEU will support the implementation of the agreed upon exchange format by facilitating the organisation of the exchange from the kick-off event through the agenda-setting phase and the organisation and final evaluation of the actual exchange. During all of these stages, participating regions are asked to provide input and shape the experience they will have.

Each exchange will produce innovative and customised solutions for each participating region. Results from all the exchanges will be made available to other participants to maximise learning benefits.

Who can participate?

exchangeEU is aimed at coal, lignite, peat and oil shale (coal+) regions from all 27 EU countries.

From each coal+ region, stakeholders from a wide variety of backgrounds (for example, regional and local authorities, development or energy agencies, NGOs, unions, associations, businesses, and academia) are encouraged to apply.

Applications from outside the EU may be admitted on a case-by-case basis.


exchangeEU consists of 2 exchange rounds. The first one started in November 2021 and concluded in October 2022. The second round launched with a call for applications on 15 September 2022 and will run until May 2023. Applications for the second round are closed.

The timeline for the second round of exchanges is detailed below.

  1. 15 September 2022
    call for applications (2nd round)
  2. 29 September 2022
    virtual pre-matchmaking session
  3. 12 October 2022
    dedicated session at the European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC) Conference
  4. 25 October 2022
    support session for matchmaking at Just Transition Platform (JTP) Conference
  5. 10 November 2022
    application deadline (2nd round)
  6. January - May 2023
    implementation period of exchanges

First round of exchanges - Overview

For the first round of exchangeEU, 18 coal+ regions in transition have been selected and matched with each other. The matching process resulted in 8 exchanges, uncluding 4 pairs of regions and 4 triangles of regions. The participating regions represent a total of 12 EU Member States: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.



Exchange 1

Participating regions:

Zasavje (SI): Hosting region

Northern Hungary (HU): Visiting region

Moravia-Silesia (CZ): Visiting region

Duration of study visit: 1-2 June

Exchange 2

Participating regions:

Upper Nitra Region (SK): Hosting region

Eastern Cohesion Region (SI), represented by the city of Velenje): Visiting region

Jiu Valley (RO): Visiting region

Duration of study visit: 21-22 June

Exchange 3

Participating regions:

Malopolska (PL): Hosting region

Ústi (CZ): Visiting region

Aragón (ES): Visiting region

Duration of study visit: 19 - 20 July

Exchange 4

Participating regions:

Western Macedonia (EL): Hosting region

Stara Zagora (BG): Visiting region

Duration of study visit: 29 August - 1 September

Exchange 5

Participating regions:

Midlands Region (IE): Hosting region

Western Macedonia (EL): Visiting region

Duration of study visit: 6 - 7 September

Exchange 6

Participating regions:

Saxony (DE): Hosting region

Karlovarský (CZ): Visiting region

Duration of study visit: 13 - 15 September

Exchange 7

Participating regions:

Asturias (ES): Hosting region

Silesia (PL), represented by the city of Bytom: Visiting region

Duration of study visit: 5 - 6 October

Exchange 8

Participating regions:

Saxony-Anhalt (DE): Hosting region

Ida-Viru (EE): Visiting region

Duration of study visit: 4 - 7 October


Exchange leaflets

Exchange 1: Zasavje (SI), Moravia-Silesia (CZ) and Northern Hungary (HU)
(1.37 MB - PDF)
27 OKTOBER 2022
Exchange 2: Upper Nitra (SK), Eastern Cohesion Region (SI) and Jiu Valley (RO)
(1.11 MB - PDF)
14 OKTOBER 2022
Exchange 3: Malopolska (PL), Ústi (CZ) and Aragón (ES)
(394.26 KB - PDF)
Exchange 4: Western Macedonia (EL) and Stara Zagora (BG)
(3.62 MB - PDF)
  • български
    (833.4 KB - PDF)
  • ελληνικά
    (838.97 KB - PDF)
19 DECEMBER 2022
Exchange 5: Midlands Region (IE) and Western Macedonia (EL)
(1.33 MB - PDF)
25 NOVEMBER 2022
Exchange 6: Leipzig (DE) and Karlovy Vary (CZ)
(859.54 KB - PDF)
25 NOVEMBER 2022
Exchange 7: Asturias (ES) and Silesia (PL)
(482.63 KB - PDF)
19 DECEMBER 2022
Exchange 8: Saxony-Anhalt (DE) and Ida-Virumaa (EE)
(3.67 MB - PDF)