Spanish region wants EU coal subsidies beyond 2014
The Spanish region of Asturias on Wednesday rejected a proposal by Europe's top competition regulator for national governments to end state aid to the coal industry by 2014.
"This sector is strategic because it provides Spain with a minimum of energy independence," said Ana Rosa Migoya, the spokeswoman for the regional government of Asturias, where Spain's coal mining industry is concentrated.
"The cost of making the coal industry disappear in the way it is planned will be higher than that to maintain it," she told a news conference.
EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia, a former Spanish employment minister, said on Tuesday he wanted the 27-member bloc to end state aid to the coal industry eight years earlier than initially sought in a bid to close uncompetitive mines by October 2014.
Europe is responsible for just 2.5 percent of world coal production and is increasingly moving towards renewable sources alongside nuclear energy.
© 2010 AFP