EGF: Commission sharpens its tools
By Sophie Petitjean | Monday 23 July 2012
The Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, László Andor, regrets that eight member states want to stop the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in 2014. At the meeting of the College of Commissioners, on 17 July, Andor handed out a memo showing that these states received financial aid totalling €92.1 million under the EGF.
The EGF was set up in 2006 for the 2007-2013 programming period. The main aim was to contribute to the professional reinsertion of workers who lost their job in the EU due to globalisation. In 2008, the Commission proposed temporarily broadening the scope of the EGF to include workers made redundant as a result of the economic and financial crisis. However, in December 2011, a blocking minority – made up of Germany, Slovakia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Latvia, the Netherlands and the UK – opposed maintaining this so-called ‘crisis derogation’.
Consequently, the latest version of the ‘negotiating box’ for the multiannual financial framework (MFF) explicitly suggests not to maintain the EGF beyond 2013.
Yet, the memo presented to the College of Commissioners seems to offer tangible proof of the EGF’s effectiveness. It shows that the Commission has received 101 applications for assistance amounting to €440.5 million. The memo also shows that since 2007, when the fund became operational, some 91,000 redundant workers in 20 member states have benefitted from EGF assistance (Estonia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Slovakia and the UK have never applied for EGF assistance).
But above all, the document shows that the blocking minority at the Council has largely benefitted from EGF aid. For example, the Netherlands made 16 applications for assistance amounting €29.6 million. Fifteen of these applications were linked to the crisis and one to globalisation. The same goes for Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic. Germany made six applications, for a total of €42.6 million under the EGF; Sweden made three applications amounting to €19.6 million; while the Czech Republic made one application for €0.3 million. The UK, Slovenia, Latvia and Estonia, however, have never made use of this Community tool since its creation.
The Cyprus Presidency – also a net contributor – should present a new version of the ‘negotiating box’ ahead of the 24 September General Affairs Council. However, little change is expected when it comes to the EGF.
The Commission has received 101 applications for assistance amounting to €440.5 million