REPORT on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, in accordance with point 28 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (application EGF/2011/001 AT/Niederösterreich - Oberösterreich from Austria)

    7.11.2011 - (COM(2011)0579 – C7‑0254/2011 – 2011/2199(BUD))

    Committee on Budgets
    Rapporteur: Barbara Matera
    PR_BUD_Funds

    Procedure : 2011/2199(BUD)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    A7-0379/2011
    Texts tabled :
    A7-0379/2011
    Debates :
    Texts adopted :

    MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

    on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, in accordance with point 28 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (application EGF/2011/001 AT/Niederösterreich - Oberösterreich from Austria)

    (COM(2011)0579 – C7‑0254/2011 – 2011/2199(BUD))

    The European Parliament,

    –   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2011)0579 – C7‑0254/2011),

    –   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management[1] (IIA of 17 May 2006), and in particular point 28 thereof,

    –   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund[2] (EGF Regulation),

    –   having regard to the trilogue procedure as provided for in point 28 of the IIA of 17 May 2006,

    –   having regard to the letter of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs,

    –   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A7-0379/2011),

    A. whereas the European Union has set up the appropriate legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns and to assist their reintegration into the labour market,

    B.  whereas the scope of the EGF was broadened for applications submitted from 1 May 2009 to include support for workers made redundant as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis,

    C. whereas the Union’s financial assistance to workers made redundant should be dynamic and made available as quickly and efficiently as possible, in accordance with the Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission adopted during the conciliation meeting on 17 July 2008, and having due regard for the IIA of 17 May 2006 in respect of the adoption of decisions to mobilise the EGF,

    D. whereas Austria has requested assistance in respect of a case concerning 2 338 redundancies, from which 502 targeted for assistance, in 706 enterprises operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 49 ('Land transport and transport via pipelines') in the NUTS II regions of Niederösterreich (AT12) and Oberösterreich (AT31) in Austria,

    E.  whereas the application fulfils the eligibility criteria set up by the EGF Regulation,

    1. Requests the institutions involved to make the necessary efforts to improve procedural and budgetary arrangements in order to accelerate the mobilisation of the EGF; appreciates in this sense the improved procedure put in place by the Commission, following the Parliament's request for accelerating the release of grants, aimed at presenting to the budgetary authority the Commission's assessment on the eligibility of an EGF application together with the proposal to mobilise the Fund; hopes that further improvements in the procedure will be reached in the framework of the upcoming reviews of the EGF and that greater efficiency, transparency and visibility of the Fund will be achieved;

    2.  Recalls the institutions’ commitment to ensuring a smooth and rapid procedure for the adoption of the decisions on the mobilisation of the EGF, providing one-off, time-limited individual support geared to helping workers who have suffered redundancies as a result of globalisation and the financial and economic crisis; emphasises the role that the EGF can play in the reintegration of workers made redundant into the labour market, in particular the most vulnerable and least qualified workers;

    3. Stresses that, in accordance with Article 6 of the EGF Regulation, it should be ensured that the EGF supports the reintegration of individual redundant workers into employment; further stresses that the EGF assistance can co-finance only active labour market measures which lead to long-term employment; reiterates that assistance from the EGF must not replace actions which are the responsibility of companies by virtue of national law or collective agreements, nor measures restructuring companies or sectors; deplores that the EGF might provide an incentive for companies to replace their contractual workforce with a more flexible and short-term one;

    4.  Notes that the information provided on the coordinated package of personalised services to be funded from the EGF includes information on the compatibility and complementarity with actions funded by the Structural Funds; reiterates its call to the Commission to present a comparative evaluation of these data in its annual reports as well;

    5.  Welcomes the fact that following repeated requests from the Parliament, for the first time the 2011 budget shows payment appropriations of EUR 47 608 950 on the EGF budget line 04 05 01; reminds that the EGF was created as a separate specific instrument with its own objectives and deadlines and that therefore deserves a dedicated allocation, which will avoid transfers from other budget lines, as happened in the past, which could be detrimental to the achievement of the various policies objectives;

    6. Welcomes the foreseen reinforcement of the EGF budget line 04.05.01. by EUR 50 000 000 through Amending Budget 3/2011, which will be used to cover the amount needed for the present application;

    7.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

    8.  Instructs its President to sign the decision with the President of the Council and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

    9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution, including its annex, to the Council and the Commission.

    • [1]  OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
    • [2]  OJ L 406, 30.12.2006, p. 1.

    ANNEX: DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

    on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in accordance with point 28 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (application EGF/2011/001 AT/Niederösterreich-Oberösterreich from Austria)

    THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

    Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

    Having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management[1], and in particular point 28 thereof,

    Having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund[2], and in particular Article 12(3) thereof,

    Having regard to the proposal from the Commission[3],

    Whereas:

    (1)      The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (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 and to assist them with their reintegration into the labour market.

    (2)      The scope of the EGF was broadened for applications submitted from 1 May 2009 to include support for workers made redundant as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis.

    (3)      The Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 allows the mobilisation of the EGF within the annual ceiling of EUR 500 million.

    (4)      Austria submitted an application to mobilise the EGF, in respect of redundancies in 706 enterprises operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 49 ('Land transport and transport via pipelines') in the NUTS II regions of of Niederösterreich (AT12) and Oberösterreich (AT31), on 3 January 2011 and supplemented it by additional information up to 9 June 2011. This application complies with the requirements for determining the financial contributions as laid down in Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. The Commission, therefore, proposes to mobilise an amount of EUR 3 643 770.

    (5)      The EGF should, therefore, be mobilised in order to provide a financial contribution for the application submitted by Austria.

    HAVE ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

    Article 1

    For the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2011, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) shall be mobilised to provide the sum of EUR 3 643 770 in commitment and payment appropriations.

    Article 2

    This Decision shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

    Done at [Brussels/Strasbourg],

    For the European Parliament                      For the Council

    The President                                                The President

    • [1]               OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
    • [2]               OJ L 406, 30.12.2006, p. 1.
    • [3]               OJ C […], […], p. […].

    EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

    I. Background

    The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund has been created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns.

    According to the provisions of point 28 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management[1] and of the Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006[2], the Fund may not exceed a maximum amount of EUR 500 million, drawn from the margin under the global expenditure ceiling from the previous year, and/ or from the cancelled commitment appropriations from the previous two years, excluding those related to Heading 1b. The appropriate amounts are entered into the budget as a provision as soon as the sufficient margins and/or cancelled commitments have been identified.

    As concerns the procedure, in order to activate the Fund the Commission, in case of a positive assessment of an application, presents to the budgetary authority a proposal for mobilisation of the Fund and, at the same time, a corresponding request for transfer. In parallel, a trilogue could be organised in order to find an agreement on the use of the Fund and the amounts required. The trilogue can take a simplified form.

    II. State of play: Commission's proposal

    On 22 September 2011 the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF in favour of Austria in order to support the reintegration in the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis.

    This is the seventeenth application to be examined under the 2011 budget and refers to the mobilisation of a total amount of EUR 3.643.770 from the EGF for Austria. It concerns 2 338 redundancies, from which 502 targeted for assistance, 706 enterprises operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 49 ('Land transport and transport via pipelines') in the NUTS II regions of Niederösterreich (AT12) and Oberösterreich (AT31) in Austria, during the nine-month reference period from 1 February 2010 to 31 October 2010.

    The application, case EGF/2011/001 AT/Niederösterreich-Oberösterreich from Austria, was submitted to the Commission on 03 January 2011 and supplemented by additional information up to 09 June 2011. It was based on the intervention criterion of Art. 2 (b) of the EGF Regulation, which requires at least 500 redundancies over a nine-month period in enterprises operating in the same NACE Revision 2 Division in one region or two contiguous regions in NUTS II level in a Member State.

    One of the criteria for Commission's assessment was the evaluation of the link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns or the financial crisis, which in this particular case is related to the decreased in the freight business in Austria of 30-50 % in July 2009. For lorries with an authorized total weight above 3,5 tons, the traffic decreased in the first half of 2009 by 17 % compared to the same period of the previous year. These downward trends continued in 2010 with the result that many Austrian road transport businesses had to lay off workers. Austria argues that the crisis with its impact on European consumer behaviour and the reduced production of goods had a particularly heavy negative impact on the transport sector which has unfolded in a delayed manner, in comparison to core industries of the secondary sector.

    The co-ordinated package of personalised services to be funded, including its compatibility with actions funded by the Structural Funds, includes measures for:

    · Information and admission to the 'foundation-like' structure: General information through specific channels and in cooperation with the two AMS and the delivering bodies FAB and AGAN (trainer/worker ratio 1:10 or individual sessions where needed) and possibility for the workers to apply for admission to the 'foundation-like' structure.

    · Occupational orientation: This includes the development of career perspectives and an individual occupational pathway plan signed by the parties which forms the basis for the workers' subsequent activities within the foundation-like structure (trainer/worker ratio 1:12 or individual sessions where needed). Basic information on entrepreneurship and one-week internships in enterprises (as tasters) are also included in the programme.

    · Individual training: This can cover the upskilling of the workers' existing knowledge as well as vocational training to prepare a change of career. The meaningfulness of the training for the labour market and the profiles of vacant posts are taken into consideration.

    As regards the criteria contained in Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006, the Austrian authorities in their application and supplementary information:

    •          confirmed that the financial contribution from the EGF does not replace measures which are the responsibility of companies by virtue of national law or collective agreements;

    •          demonstrated that the actions provide support for individual workers and are not to be used for restructuring companies or sectors;

    •          confirmed that the eligible actions referred to above do not receive assistance from other EU financial instruments.

    Concerning management and control systems Austria has notified the Commission that the national co-financing will be provided by the public employment services (AMS) of Nieder- and Oberösterreich and the Bundesministerium für Arbeit, Soziales und Konsumentenschutz (federal ministry).

    In accordance with Commission's assessment, the application fulfils the eligibility criteria set up by the EGF Regulation and recommends to the Budget Authority to approve the applications.

    In order to mobilise the Fund, the Commission has submitted to the Budget Authority a transfer request for a global amount of EUR 3 643 770 from the EGF reserve (40 02 43) in commitments to the EGF budget line 04 05 01.

    The Rapporteur welcomes the fact that, following repeated requests from the Parliament, for the first time the 2011 budget shows payment appropriations (EUR 47.608.950) on the EGF budget line and welcomes the reinforcement of the 04.05.01.budget line by EUR 50 000 000 as foreseen through AB 2/2011.

    She reminds in fact that the EGF was created as a separate specific instrument with its own objectives and deadlines and that as such deserves a dedicated allocation, which will avoid transfers from other budget lines - as happened in the past - which could be detrimental to the achievement of the various policies objectives.

    The IIA allows the mobilisation of the Fund within the annual ceiling of EUR 500 million.

    This is the seventeenth proposal for the mobilisation of the Fund submitted to the Budget Authority in 2011. Therefore, deducing from the appropriations available the current amount requested (EUR 3.643.770) an amount of EUR 415.319.861 remains available until the end of 2011. This will leave more than 25% of the maximum annual amount earmarked for the EGF available for allocations during the last four month on 2011, as required by art. 12(6) of the EGF Regulation.

    III. Procedure

    The Commission has presented a transfer request in order to enter specific commitment appropriations in the 2011 budget, as required in Point 28 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006.

    The trilogue on the Commission's proposal for a Decision on the mobilisation of the EGF could take a simplified form, as provided for in Article 12(5) of the legal base, unless there is no agreement between the Parliament and the Council.

    According to an internal agreement, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) should be associated to the process, in order to provide constructive support and contribution to the assessment of the applications from the Fund.

    Following its evaluation, the EMPL committee of the European Parliament will give its view on the mobilisation of the Fund, which will be attached as letter to the present report.

    The Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, adopted during the conciliation meeting on 17 July 2008, has confirmed the importance of ensuring a rapid procedure with due respect of the Interinstitutional Agreement for the adoption of decisions on the mobilisation of the Fund.

    • [1]  OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
    • [2]  OJ L 406, 30.12.2006, p. 1.

    ANNEX: LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS

    EK/jm

    D(2011)49868

    M. Alain Lamassoure

    President of the Committee on budgets

    ASP 13E158

    Subject: Subject: Opinion on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the case EGF/2011/001 AT/Niederösterreich-Oberösterreich from Austria (COM(2011)579 final)

    Dear Chair,

    The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) as well as its Working Group on the EGF examined the mobilisation of the EGF for the case EGF/2011/001 AT/Niederösterreich-Oberösterreich and adopted the following opinion.

    The EMPL committee and the Working Group on the EGF are in favour of the mobilisation of the Fund concerning this request. In this respect, the EMPL committee presents some remarks without, however, putting into question the transfer of the payments.

    The deliberations of the EMPL committee are based on the following considerations:

    A)  Whereas this application is based on Article 2 b) of the EGF regulation and targets for support 502 of 2 338 workers made redundant during the reference period 1 February 2010 and 31 October 2010 in 706 enterprises in the Austrian road freight transport [1];

    B)  Whereas the Austrian authorities argue that the redundancies were caused by the global financial and economic crisis which reduced the production of goods and thus had a negative impact on the transport sector in a delayed manner compared to core industries;

    C)  Whereas, according to the International Road Transport Union, the international transport decreased by 20-30% in 2009; whereas the Austrian road transport activities decreased in 2009 by 30-50%, which resulted in bankruptcies and layoffs of drivers;

    D)  Whereas the Austrian authorities explain that the negative trend hit in particular small and very small transport firms, often subcontractors to large freight companies;

    E)  Whereas 502 workers targeted for the EGF support (21 % of all dismissed in the Austrian road transport sector during the reference period) were not successful in returning on the labour market due to lack of qualifications; whereas all targeted for support are lorry drivers;

    F)  Whereas the lays offs took place in two industrial regions of Niederösterreich and Oberösterreich, which in 2009 noted sharp increases in unemployment rates by 24,5% and 39,7% respectively;

    G)  Whereas 85,9% of the workers targeted by the measures are men and 14,1 % are women; whereas 77,1 % of the workers are between 25 and 54 years old and 15,3% of workers are between 15 and 25 years old;

    H)  Whereas 51 workers have longstanding health problems or are disabled;

    I)  Whereas the EU budget 2011 includes for the first time appropriations in payments on the EGF budget line 04 05 01 superseding the transfer of payments from other unused budget lines;

    Therefore, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to integrate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution concerning the Niederösterreich-Oberösterreich application:

    1.  Agrees with the Commission that the conditions set out in Articles 2 b) of the EGF regulation (1927/2006) are met and that, therefore, Austria is entitled to a financial contribution under this regulation;

    2.  Notes that Austrian authorities submitted the application for EGF financial contribution on 3 January 2011 and that its full assessment was made available by the European Commission on 22 September 2011;

    3.  Notes that the region of Niederösterreich was already affected by mass redundancies (manufacturing of basic metals), which will benefit from the EGF support (EGF/2010/007 AT/Steiermark and Niederösterreich);

    4.  Notes that EU road freight transport activity fell by 10% in 2009 and it appears to recover somewhat slower then other EU transport sectors;

    5.  Welcomes the fact that the laid off workers will benefit from measures provided by a structure similar to a labour foundation, which was established by Austrian authorities in early 2011;

    6.  Reminds that labour foundations are institutions set up by sectoral social partners in order to accompany workers with training measures to enhance their employability; reminds further that this model of providing active labour market measures was very successful in the past regarding the reintegration of workers into the labour market;

    7.  Welcomes the fact that the proposed co-ordinated package of personalised services was designed in collaboration with the social partners and that the measures are assessed and supervised by the public employment services;

    8.  Notes the fact that, in addition to training allowances, the coordinated package includes subsistence allowances for workers (1270 Euro per month), which shall permit workers to engage full-time in the measures (duration up to 8 months); notes that the unemployment benefit is suspended during the period when the allowance is granted;

    9.  Regrets that the regulation allows EGF support to substitute social welfare payments required under the national legislation; emphasizes that the fund should be primarily allocated to training and job search as well as occupational orientation programs and promotion of entrepreneurship, acting complementarily to national institutions and not substituting employment benefit or any other social welfare payments which are the responsibility of national institutions under national laws;

    10.  Notes the fact that entrepreneurship-related measures are not included for the EGF support as they are available free of charge to workers in the framework of Austrian educational system;

    11.  Notes that the EGF contribution per worker will amount to 7 201 Euro.

    Yours sincerely,

    Pervenche Berès

    • [1]  In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1893/2006.

    RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

    Date adopted

    7.11.2011

     

     

     

    Result of final vote

    +:

    –:

    0:

    28

    4

    0

    Members present for the final vote

    Marta Andreasen, Francesca Balzani, Reimer Böge, Lajos Bokros, Isabelle Durant, James Elles, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazábal Rubial, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Ingeborg Gräßle, Carl Haglund, Lucas Hartong, Jutta Haug, Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska, Ivailo Kalfin, Jan Kozłowski, Alain Lamassoure, Vladimír Maňka, Barbara Matera, Dominique Riquet, László Surján, Derek Vaughan

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    François Alfonsi, Franziska Katharina Brantner, Jürgen Klute, Georgios Stavrakakis

    Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

    Josefa Andrés Barea, María Irigoyen Pérez, Baroness Sarah Ludford, George Lyon, Marit Paulsen, Ivo Vajgl