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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has approved state aid of 1.88 billion euros for the Czech Republic and 56 million euros for Hungary in the form of free carbon allowances, it said on Wednesday.

Stating the grants were within EU state aid rules, the Commission said the money would be used to modernize energy installations and infrastructure and promote competition.

"The investments foreseen in the Czech and Hungarian plans will allow both member states to diversify their sources for the production of electricity and to contribute to the expansion of national energy markets," Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

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