This week, the European Parliament has voted on a Commission proposal, which provides for EU support payments starting at 500 employees made redundant. So far, at least 1,000 redundancies per application were required.
The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund already exists since 2007. It provides financial assistance for workers, who have become unemployed for example as a result of their industry being relocated to non-EU countries. Already then, AK EUROPA criticized the strict conditions, which were linked to the allocation of support by the Globalisation Fund.

And indeed, the Fund was rarely used during the first two years of its existence. Only 18 % and 10 % of the available funds respectively – € 500 million per year – were applied for in 2007 and 2008. In its new proposal the Commission has now reacted to the criticism of AK, reduced the minimum number of affected workers to 500 and changed the criteria for claiming funds money: from now on, money from the Fund will also be paid with respect to redundancies as a direct consequence of the global economic and financial crisis.

The funds can, for example, be used for qualification and retraining measures but also to finance short-time work or educational leave. Apart from that and in accordance with the Council, the proposal provides for co-financing the approved measures up to 65 %. Until now the limit was set at 50 %. The new regulation will apply to all applications, which were submitted to the Commission after May 1st, 2009.

The European Parliament came out in favour of the Commission proposal. At Council level, the Directive proposal will probably be adopted at the next Works Council in June 2009.