On a proposal from Mr. Christos Papoutsis, Commissioner responsible for energy, the European Commission has authorized aid of ESC 345 million to the Portuguese coal industry for 1995 and 1996. The aid is intended to cover the exceptional social expenditure to be paid to workers who have lost their jobs as a result of restructuring measures. The aid will cover part of the compensation payable to some 49 workers at the Carbonifera do Douro company, who lost their jobs after 31 December 1994 when the company's plan to close down mining operations was put into effect. The social measures in question amount to early retirement. The Commission has approved this aid since it forms part of the plan to reduce the company's activities and helps solve the social and regional problems arising out of the complete or part closure of production units.