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Thursday, 6 July 2006 - Strasbourg Final edition
Economic and social consequences of business restructuring in Europe
P6_TA(2006)0315B6-0387, 0388 and 0389/2006

European Parliament resolution on the economic and social consequences of companies restructuring in Europe

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers 1989 and the related action programme,

–   having regard to Council Directive 75/129/EEC of 17 February 1975 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies(1) ,

–   having regard to Council Directive 94/45/EC of 22 September 1994 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees(2) (European Works Council Directive),

–   having regard to the rapid transformations and economic changes that may affect companies, positively or negatively, in all the Members States,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 14 March 2006 on relocation in the context of regional development(3) and of 15 March 2006 on restructuring and employment(4) , and to its numerous earlier resolutions on company restructuring, relocations, mergers and closures, in particular that of 13 March 2003 on the closure of undertakings after receiving EU financial aid(5) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community(6) ,

–   having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas companies should make management decisions that secure the business growth of their enterprises, and whereas the restructuring of enterprises should safeguard social and economic progress if the changes required and address the challenges of fostering the development of a sustainable economy, combined with a determination to protect social welfare and environment,

B.   whereas the Lisbon Strategy is aimed at turning the EU into the world's most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy, capable of sustained economic growth accompanied by the creation of more and better jobs and greater social cohesion,

C.   whereas restructuring must be managed in a socially and environmentally sensitive way, failing which it may run counter to the Lisbon Strategy, which seeks to promote full employment, the quality of jobs, social and territorial cohesion and sustainable development,

1.  Calls on the Commission, as it has previously done in its resolution of 12 February 2004 on the crisis in the iron and steel sector(7) , to adopt a more decisive strategy to tackle industrial restructuring and its social impact;

2.  Considers that aid from public funds should be linked to long-term agreements by the management of a company in matters of employment and local development;

3.  Asks the Commission, as well as the Member States, to withdraw the subsidies from aid programmes and to claim the reimbursement of these subsidies from companies that do not respect their obligations;

4.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote a European dialogue on industrial restructuring as well as on structural reforms of the labour market to secure the advantages of globalisation, while minimising the negative social impact;

5.  Reminds the Commission of the importance of a well-functioning European Works Council Directive, which ensures that informing and consulting workers is properly carried out;

6.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that companies respect their social and financial responsibilities, act in a corporately responsible fashion and are fair to all stakeholders, including local and regional authorities and the communities where they are based;

7.  Calls on the Commission to draw up, without delay, an evaluation of the application of Directive 75/129/EEC and to make proposals for measures to ensure compliance;

8.  Welcomes the forthcoming European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which will support workers and improve the social and educational infrastructure with regard to collective redundancies, and calls on the Council to adopt a common position as soon as possible after Parliament's first reading and to ensure that it can apply retrospectively where the effects of current closures carry over to 2007;

9.  Expresses its solidarity with all workers, their families and their communities affected by redundancies;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the European Trade Union Confederation and the Union of Employers' and Industrial Confederations of Europe.

(1) OJ L 48, 22.2.1975, p. 29. Directive as last amended by Directive 92/56/EEC (OJ L 245, 26.8.1992, p. 3).
(2) OJ L 254, 30.9.1994, p. 64.
(3) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0077.
(4) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0088.
(5) OJ C 61 E, 10.3.2004, p. 425.
(6) OJ L 80, 23.3.2002, p. 29.
(7) OJ C 97 E, 22.4.2004, p. 637.

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