Secretariat Technical Assistance to Regions in Transition (START)

The Secretariat’s Technical Assistance to Regions in Transition (START) aims to leave a legacy of enhanced transition-related expertise, capabilities, and capacities in the coal regions that receive support.

The delivery of support will thereby follow a co-creation approach that engages recipients as active participants, contributing with their own resources, alongside those provided by the secretariat, in order to jointly pursue supported activities.

START addresses gaps in already existing technical assistance available to EU coal regions. It is designed to provide targeted, needs-oriented expertise and capacity building to help regions take practical steps forward in 2 main areas:

  • economic diversification
  • decarbonisation

START will notably focus on the following key moments of the transition life cycle:

  • the development of transition strategies and governance arrangements
  • the identification of relevant priority projects
  • the design and development of the identified priority projects, including appropriate financing strategies

Assistance may take on a thematic focus that addresses topics of particular relevance to clean and fair transition, such as energy system transformation and alternative technologies, environmental rehabilitation, employment and labour force measures, social cohesion and welfare, heritage and culture, or mobility.

START recipients

Following an open call for applications, seven regions were selected to receive initiative support through the START  programme:

  • Asturias, Spain
  • Jiu Valley, Romania
  • Karlovy Vary, Czechia
  • Małopolska, Poland
  • Megalopolis (Peloponnese), Greece
  • Midlands, Ireland
  • Silesia, Poland

These seven recipients of START support represent a diverse cross-section of regions and communities. They differ across features including resource type (hard coal, lignite, peat); socio-economic structure; industrial characteristics (mono-industrial and diversified); and geographic attributes (rural, urban, endowment of natural resources and assets ). Also, the regions are at different stages of their transition processes. Such regional variety will assist the transfer of lessons about transition across different region types.

During the first half of 2020, the Secretariat undertook initial assessment work of the seven regions to further refine the scope and scale of START support. This support is being articulated in a specific work plan for each region. Technical assistance will be delivered through to October 2021.

To ensure coordinated and integrated support to the selected START regions, the Secretariat is working closely with relevant European Commission partners, including the Directorates-General Energy, Regional and Urban Policy, and Structural Reform Support, as well as other providers of support, such as the World Bank.

Progress in the implementation of START and lessons learnt will be shared with stakeholders via initiative working group meetings, the annual political dialogue, and the newsletter and webpages.

Resources from the START process

Here you can find resources developed as part of the START process. These include regional profiles, jointly developed with each START region, which outline the context of the local coal sector, as well as transition plans, challenges and opportunities. Also, you can find ad hoc documents developed by START, either as background information or as inputs to START-supported activities.