Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 300 million

Official Journal Reference

C 20 of 1990-01-27

Legislative Reference

To promote the economic conversion and social renewal of coal-mining areas which have been seriously affected by decline in the sector, thus contributing to the reduction of disparities in development and living standards in the Community.


For the period 1989-1993, resources amounting to more than ECU 60 billion are available, via the three European Funds (ERDF, ESF, EAGGF-Guidance section), for the structural actions of the Community. The major part of these resources is allocated to the Community Support Frameworks (CSF), multi-annual agreements signed between Member States and the Commission of the European Communities, on the basis of which operational programmes can be implemented. In addition, ECU 5.5 billion have been reserved for Community Initiatives, and ECU 300 million for Pilot Projects.

RECHAR is one of the Community Initiatives, complementary to the Community Support Frameworks. It was adopted by the Commission on 17 December 1989 under Article 11 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 4253/88 (Official Journal No L 374 of 31.12.1988) and Article 3(2) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 4254/88 (Official Journal No L 374 of 31.12.1988).

RECHAR was the first Community Initiative to be adopted, at the end of 1989, following the reform of the Structural Funds, and forms part of the same policy guideline as RENAVAL (ship-building areas) and RESIDER (steel areas) which had been adopted previously.

In the midst of painful social conflicts, the demise of coal has affected entire micro-regions and local communities, for which it was the main - if not the sole - source of economic activity. RECHAR is intended to accelerate economic conversion concentrating on the most seriously affected of these areas, by means of an effort which is additional to that foreseen in the Community Support Frameworks drawn up in accordance with Article 8 of Regulation (EEC) No 4253/88. Priority is given to improving the environment, to promoting new job-creating economic activities, particularly in SMEs, and to the development of human resources, in particular through vocational training.

RECHAR does not intervene in the problems of operating coal mines: that is the role of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).


Eligible measures:

- Improvement of the environment in areas seriously damaged by coal-mining activity, coal-tip reclamation and landscaping, reconversion of mine buildings and premises for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), etc.;

- Renovation and modernization of social and economic infrastructures (community facilities, roads, water and electricity supplies) in mining villages, provided that these measures contribute to economic regeneration;

- Construction of new advance factory units and workshop premises;

- Promotion of alternative economic activities, and in particular the creation or development of SMEs;

- Assisting the promotion of tourism activities, especially those based on industrial heritage;

- Assisting vocational training and employment measures for any person, especially the unemployed, persons threatened with unemployment and persons employed in SMEs;

- Interest rebates on ECSC loans for investments in SMEs, and for the reclamation of sites for industrial use;

- Redeployment aids available under Article 56 of the ECSC Treaty, in particular assistance for the provision of vocational training designed to provide miners or unemployed ex-miners with skills relevant to market requirements and to assist their integration within a changing economy;

- Any other measure which contributes to the economic conversion of the area concerned and for which loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) can be approved, including loans under the New Community Instrument (NCI).


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme. A Monitoring Committee representing the coal-mining regions, the Member States and the Commission is established for each individual operational programme.

The RECHAR operational programmes are financed jointly by the Member States and by the Community. The total contribution of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and of the European Social Fund (ESF) during the period 1990-1993 is estimated at ECU 300 million. Additional aid will be provided by the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) may also be available.

The amount of the Community's contribution to individual operational programmes reflects the quality of the programme, the economic and social conditions and development needs of the area involved, as well as both past and future job losses in that area. The rates of assistance, in the form of loans and grants in aid as appropriate, are in conformity with the provisions of the regulations governing the Structural Funds and take account of the financing capacity of the national and regional authorities concerned.

To qualify for assistance, areas must fall within Objectives 1 (regions whose development is lagging behind), 2 (declining industrial regions) or 5b (lagging rural areas) of the Structural Funds. Eligible areas are further delineated in terms of small spatial units, or geographically contiguous groups of such units, containing coal-mining activities which employed at least 1000 persons in the coal-mining industry on 1 January 1984 or later and which satisfy one of the following conditions:
- They have lost at least 1000 coal- mining jobs since 1 January 1984;
- The total number of coal-mining jobs lost since that date and future coal mining job losses publicly announced equals or exceeds 1000 jobs;
- The total number of coal-mining jobs lost since 1 January 1984 and the number of such jobs at risk equals or exceeds 1000 jobs.

A list of eligible areas was published in the Official Journal, No C 177 of 18.7.1990.

Member States, taking into account proposals from regional and local authorities, were invited to submit final proposals for operational programmes by 27.7.1990 ("Notice to the Member States laying down guidelines for operational programmes in the framework of a Community initiative concerning the economic conversion of coal-mining areas, which Member States are invited to establish", Official Journal No C 20 of 27.1.1990). Proposals were submitted for all eligible areas. The measures started in 1991, after examination of the proposals by the Commission and discussions with Member States. Individual projects may still be submitted to the relevant local authorities, provided that they can be combined with the operational programme implemented in the region concerned.
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