European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid totalling €1.6 million to help over 1,100 redundant workers in Spain to find new jobs was approved by the European Parliament on Thursday.
The package will help 1,138 former construction workers made redundant by 513 small and medium-sized firms in Valencia due to the economic recession. It will finance training, or supplement their income while they seek alternative employment.
EGF aid is for victims of globalisation, not recession
In 2011, at the time of the Comunidad Valenciana application, EGF aid was available to those hit by the economic crisis, as well as those specifically affected by globalisation.
However, on 2 December 2011 the Council of Ministers suspended a rule that had allowed EGF aid to be made available to those needing help in a time of economic crisis. This meant that from then on, only applications clearly linked to globalisation could be considered.
Following this change, some MEPs opposed allocating this EGF aid to Valencia, on the grounds that it is not intended to help those hit by the collapse of the Spanish property market, which is in no way linked to globalisation.
Any aid applications made before the December 2011 change will nonetheless be considered - only those made after January 2012 must adhere to the new criteria. A further 23 applications will be considered under the old derogation.
The EGF was established to provide additional support for workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation or the financial crisis and help reintegrate them into the labour market by providing training and job-search assistance. The fund's annual ceiling is €500 million.
In the past two years, the fund has helped 45,000 people to find new jobs.