Germany's cabinet agreed on a draft bill on Wednesday to provide billions of euros of financial aid to regions impacted by plans to phase out coal by 2038.
The draft law envisions funneling €40 billion ($45 billion) over the next two decades to four regions expected to be particularly hit hard by the planned coal phase out to meet the country's climate goals.
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Thousands of people are employed in the coal industry in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the financial aid would help the regions implement structural change.
"We want to maintain and expand jobs, sustainably improve the quality of life of people living in the regions, and at the same time make an important contribution to climate protection through the phase-out of coal-fired power generation," Altmaier said.
The government decided in January that the country should be coal-free by 2038 but has not yet passed a law. The draft bill approved on Wednesday would only come into effect after a bill to phase out coal has been passed.
Altmaier said he expected a separate bill for the coal exit to be submitted in October.
cw/rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)