Strasbourg round-up: EU globalisation adjustment fund
Key rapporteurs Liadh Ní Riada, José Manuel Fernandes and Marco Zanni offer their views on the mobilisation of the European globalisation adjustment fund.
Liadh Ní Riada is parliament's rapporteur on the mobilisation of the European globalisation adjustment fund: technical assistance by the commission
I am absolutely delighted that my report on the mobilisation of the European globalisation fund (EGF) was carried. This a vital fund particularly now with the increased pressures on workers due to the economic down turn. This report was the first piece of legislation to be voted on in the parliament since elections in May this year. It was passed by a qualified majority of MEPs in full plenary session. It was wonderful to think one could have such an impact on such an important fund given that I have only just started.
The opportunity it presents to member states to ensure that people who have lost their jobs have the opportunity to learn new skills enabling them to gain access to the labour market is vital. This legislation will allow more people to benefit from the fund and increase access throughout Europe, to allow those hardest hit by unemployment access vital education, training and services.
"This report is a first step. The EGF needs greater resources and I am calling for a return to previous levels of funding" - Liadh Ní Riada
It is an investment in skills and the long-term benefits contribute to the economic viability of the various member states. Among other things, it calls on the co-legislators to introduce special provisions to facilitate the mobilisation of the European globalisation fund in the member states which are facing particularly serious social, economic and financial constraints.
Crucially, it means greater ease of access to funding for regional initiatives combating employment. It will also mean the fund can be mobilised in the case of smaller layoffs and job losses. It points out the need to encourage assistance with autonomy and ease of access at regional level to implement a bottom up ethos, empowering local solutions at a regional level where any situation which falls under the scope of the EGF might occur.
I am delighted that schemes and projects aimed at the self-employed and younger jobseekers will also be able to apply for funding. This report is a first step. The EGF needs greater resources and I am calling for a return to previous levels of funding.
José Manuel Fernandes is parliament's EPP group shadow rapporteur on the mobilisation of the European globalisation adjustment fund: technical assistance by the commission
One of the biggest challenges the EU faces is globalisation. The European globalisation adjustment fund was created to provide support to people losing their jobs as a result of major structural changes in world trade.
"The use and existence of the EGF proves that European solidarity exists and is needed" - José Manuel Fernandes
It grants one-off individual support that is limited in time, and cannot be used to keep businesses in operation or to help in the process of modernisation or restructuring. Thus, it is distinct from the structural funds and namely the European social fund.
The EGF does not finance social protection measures such as unemployment benefits. Despite the number of high-employment uses of the fund since 2007, it has never used up the annual amount of funding available.
It has a maximum annual amount of €150m in 2011 prices. The fund can be used for projects in the field of job search assistance, career counselling, education, training and retraining, entrepreneurship and business creation. The use and existence of the EGF proves that European solidarity exists and is needed.
Marco Zanni is parliament's EFDD group shadow rapporteur on the mobilisation of the European globalisation adjustment fund: technical assistance by the commission
Usually I'm in favour of the EGF reports, except for this one concerning mainly administrative expenditure, such as information campaigns and data collections. I prefer to give money directly to workers and enterprises affected by the crisis, and that's why I fully supported all the other reports voted on for the mobilisation of the EGF. This can be considered a useful tool to be used to help workers of companies affected by the crisis, although the causes of this situation should be analysed in depth.
"We have approved requests coming from Greece, Spain, Romania and the Netherlands: this is a clear demonstration that difficulties are not restricted to a single country, but that the whole of Europe is suffering terribly" - Marco Zanni
We have approved requests coming from Greece, Spain, Romania and the Netherlands: this is a clear demonstration that difficulties are not restricted to a single country, but that the whole of Europe is suffering terribly. The iron and steel industry, construction, food and restaurants: these are the fields in which the companies we helped today were operating, and it is also clear that these sectors are in a tough situation also in Italy for instance.
I wouldn't like to ask again every time for approval of these means of support in the future, but I would rather like the European Union and the member states to try to prevent or limit this difficult situation. A lack of an effective industrial strategy and policy is really clear, and the decisions taken in Brussels have been often disastrous: let's think for instance about the free trade agreements: the evidence shows that these decisions cause more losses than benefits for European companies. What we need is an immediate change of the EU policies and a new strategy for employment and growth.
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