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EU aid to redundant workers will be maintained in 2014-2020

EU aid to redundant workers will continue in 2014-2020 and be extended to new categories of workers, such as the self-employed and those on fixed-term contracts, according to an agreement endorsed in plenary session on Wednesday. This €3.5 billion EU programme takes effect on 1 January 2014.

"The reintegration rate of those who used the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund is 48% according to the European Commission estimates. The Parliament fought national governments to keep the fund going in 2014-2020. However, I hope that despite the decrease from 3.5 billion euros to 1.05 billion, it will be sufficient", said rapporteur Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE).

Wider scope

At Parliament’s insistence, the scope of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) has again been extended, to enable it to help people who lose their jobs due to the economic crisis (this measure applied from 2009 to 2011), in addition to its primary aim of cushioning the impact of globalisation. (article 1). The EGF aid trigger threshold is 500 redundancies. (article 4)
Furthermore, new categories of workers will be eligible for EGF aid, such as those on fixed-term contracts, temporary agency workers and the self-employed.  (article 5 et 6).

Help for young unemployed
According to the compromise text and thanks to Parliament, EGF aid could temporarily be granted to young people who are not in employment, education or training, provided that they come from regions hit by redundancies. (article 6)

Co-financing rates
EGF aid supplements EU member states’ contributions, to co-finance measures enabling redundant workers to get back into the labour market, but must not under any circumstances replace national unemployment benefits. (article 7)

At Parliament’s insistence, the EGF’s contribution may cover up to 60% of the cost of measures such as job-search assistance, training, and business start-ups. The European Commission originally proposed capping the EU contribution at 50%. (article 13)

Next steps
The agreement still needs to be approved by the Council as a whole on 16 December to enable the programme to take effect on 1 January 2014.

Procedure:  Co-decision, 1st reading agreement