Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities said: "In the current crisis, solidarity is an important part of the solution. These funds will help workers who have lost their jobs as a result of globalisation to find their way back into employment as soon as possible - in Spain, where car companies are moving production to lower-cost countries and in Lithuania where the textile sector faces difficulties as a result of imports from outside the EU. I'm happy that the Fund is continuing its good work".
Approved by the Commission in July 2008 (see IP/08/1196), the Spanish application covered 1,589 redundancies: 1,521 at the Delphi factory and 68 at their suppliers. The American multinational decided to close down its factory in Puerto Real (Cádiz) and extend production facilities in its Tangier plant through a major investment and an increase of the workforce by 3,000 workers. The region of Tangiers offers lower labour and environmental costs, tax benefits and special regimes for foreign investment as well as proximity of the EU market. This is a clear example of a trend in the European automotive industry to relocate to third countries with lower production costs, with the corresponding increase in imports to the EU and a reduction of employment in the sector.
The Lithuanian application, approved by the Commission in August 2008 (see IP/08/1244), came after Alytaus Tekstilė, the textile manufacturer, went bankrupt when imports of cheap textiles from low-wage economies, largely in Asia, increased after the ending of the Multi Fibre Arrangement.
In both countries, the EGF is co-financing active labour market policy measures such as occupational guidance, training, skills recognition, certification and support to entrepreneurs to help workers find their way back to work more easily and rapidly
There have been eight applications approved and paid under the EGF so far, for a total amount of €32.488 million. An additional four applications from Italy for textile workers have just been adopted by the Budgetary Authority. EGF cases have so far concerned redundancies in the automotive industry in France, Portugal and Spain, in the mobile phone sector in Germany and Finland, and in the textile sector in Malta, Lithuania and Italy.
Established by the European Parliament and the Council at the end of 2006, the EGF is as an instrument of solidarity which helps workers with active labour market measures after globalisation related redundancies. It may give a financial contribution to a Member State in cases where at least 1,000 workers in an enterprise, or a region and sector, are made redundant due to major structural changes in world trade patterns leading to substantially increased imports into the EU, or a rapid decline in EU market share, or delocalisation of production to third countries.
- Further information: http://ec.europa.eu/egf