Germany and Spain had pressed for more time to wind down programs shoring up their mines in order to ease the social impact of their closures. The EU ministers meeting in Brussels decided states would have to gradually phase out subsidies with a view to facilitating the closure of uncompetitive hard coal mines until December 2018. Some state aid will be permitted until 2027 but only to cover exceptional costs related to the closure of the mines, including social welfare benefits and rehabilitation of sites. The coal industry directly or indirectly employs around 100,000 people in Europe, which is responsible for just 2.5% of world coal production. The European Commission said mines that are no longer profitable should no longer receive government aid, which should instead be channeled toward clean and renewable energy.