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European Globalisation Fund: derogation for workers affected by economic crisis should continue


15 Dec 2011


Social Europe & Jobs
Euro & Finance

During this morning's European Parliament debate on the European Globalisation Fund,* GUE/NGL MEP Ilda Figueiredo expressed her indignation about the Council's refusal to extend the derogation because with the ongoing crisis there is a much greater need to boost this fund.

She regretted that the countries in which workers need the fund most are those with greatest financial and social difficulties and are those in which most companies have closed and most workers have been laid off. "The 35% cofinancing required by member states to submit projects already made it difficult for those countries. If we decide now that financing is only going to go to the most limited cases of relocation by multinationals, then many of the upcoming cases will be excluded. This simply shows a lack of EU solidarity."

She expressed solidarity with the thousands of laid-off Renault workers while regretting the confusion created by France around the request for the mobilisation of the EGF and its failure to maintain dialogue with the workers. She concluded by reiterating support for the mobilisation of the fund "despite our continued criticism of its regulation".

Speaking on the specific case of Renault, Marie-Christine Vergiat said "it is a clear case of how not to do it and that it is a healthy company that produces several billions in profits per year." She said the company was making "what we call 'stock exchange dismissals' with thousands of workers being sacked every year for the sole benefit of shareholders, which includes the French state." In addition, she said, no real accompanying measures to help workers find new jobs are put in place.

"I very much hope that the debate around this fund will make it possible to restructure it so that it can stop the worst practices of companies treating their staff simply as adjustment variables," MEP Vergiat concluded.

"The decision by 8 member state governments to block the extension of the derogation is a disgrace and will make it significantly harder for laid-off workers to access these funds. And, adding insult to injury, workers are faced with massive bureaucratic barriers in accessing them" said Paul Murphy. "Workers should be put at the heart of administering these funds and allocating funding."

He said the EGF is being used to sugar-coat the race-to-the-bottom strategy being pursued by big business. "If the EU and national governments are serious about tackling mass unemployment, they should launch a massive programme of public works and introduce measures to stop multinational big business from relocating and engaging in a race to the bottom, including nationalisation."

*Originally set up to support workers who had lost their jobs due to changing international trade patterns and subsequently subject of a temporary waiver until end 2011 allowing it to include workers who had lost their jobs due to the economic crisis. Its extension until end 2013 was refused by a blocking minority in Council.

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

David Lundy +32 485 50 58 12
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group