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Thursday, 25 February 2016 - Brussels
Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2015/007 BE/Hainaut-Namur Glass

European Parliament resolution of 25 February 2016 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 13 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (application EGF/2015/007 - BE/Hainaut-Namur Glass, submitted by Belgium) (COM(2016)0001 – C8-0013/2016 – 2016/2013(BUD))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0001 – C8‑0013/2016),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (2014-2020) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006(1) (EGF Regulation),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2), and in particular Article 12 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3) (IIA of 2 December 2013), and in particular point 13 thereof,

–  having regard to the trilogue procedure provided for in point 13 of the IIA of 2 December 2013,

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

–  having regard to the letter of the Committee on Regional Development,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0029/2016),

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

B.  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 to the IIA of 2 December 2013 in respect of the adoption of decisions to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF);

C.  whereas the adoption of the EGF Regulation reflects the agreement reached between the Parliament and the Council to reintroduce the crisis mobilisation criterion, to set the Union financial contribution to 60 % of the total estimated cost of proposed measures, to increase efficiency for the treatment of EGF applications in the Commission and by the Parliament and the Council by shortening the time for assessment and approval, to widen eligible actions and beneficiaries by introducing self-employed persons and young people and to finance incentives for setting up own businesses;

D.  whereas Belgium submitted application EGF/2015/007 BE/Hainaut-Namur Glass for a financial contribution from the EGF, following redundancies in the economic sector classified under the NACE Revision 2 Division 23 (Manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products) in the NUTS level 2 regions of Hainaut (BE32) and Namur (BE35) in Belgium, and whereas 412 redundant workers, as well as 100 young people from the Hainaut Region not in employment, education or training (NEETs) under the age of 25, are expected to participate in the measures; whereas 144 of these workers were made redundant following the closure of the production plant in Roux (Hainaut), owned by AGC Europe SA, and 268 following the closure of the production plant in Auvelais (Namur Region), owned by Saint-Gobain Glass Benelux;

E.  whereas although the application does not fulfil the eligibility criteria set down in Article 4(1) of the EGF Regulation, it was submitted under the intervention criteria, which allow for derogation under exceptional circumstances, notably Article 4(2) of the EGF Regulation in the case of the redundant workers, and Article 6(2) of the EGF Regulation in the case of the NEETs;

1.  Agrees with the Commission that the conditions set out in Article 4(2) of the EGF Regulation are met and that, therefore, Belgium is entitled to a financial contribution of EUR 1 095 544 under that Regulation, which represents 60 % of the total cost of EUR 1 825 907;

2.  Notes that the Belgian authorities submitted the application for a financial contribution from the EGF on 19 August 2015, and that its assessment was finalised by the Commission on 20 January 2016 and notified to Parliament that day;

3.  Notes that in recent years the Union trade in glass products has undergone serious disruptions and underlines that, between 2000 and 2010, employment in the glass sector as a whole in Europe decreased by 32 %; points out that in Wallonia, which has a strong tradition of glass-making, several of large enterprises have faced difficulties in the recent years, with the number of jobs in the glass sector in the regions of Namur and Hainaut decreasing by 19 % between 2007 and 2012 and 1 236 job losses in 2013 and 1 878 in 2014 in Wallonia;

4.  Points out that Hainaut, in particular, is facing a difficult labour market situation with an employment rate 9,2 % lower than the national average; notes that the labour markets of the two regions are furthermore characterised by high proportion of underqualified labour (around 50 % of the job seekers in both regions lack upper secondary qualifications);

5.  Notes that Saint-Gobain Group was in 2013 forced to close another production plant in a deindustrialised zone in Wallonia which was subject of the EGF/2013/011 BE/Saint-Gobain Sekurit application relating to 257 redundancies in the same sector; notes that several measures in the two applications are similar;

6.  Welcomes the fact that the Belgian authorities started providing the personalised services to the affected workers on 10 September 2014, well ahead of the decision on the granting of EGF support for the proposed coordinated package;

7.  Notes that the derogation from Article 4(1)(a) of the EGF Regulation in this case relates to the number of redundancies which is not significantly lower than the threshold of 500 redundancies; welcomes that the application aims to support a further 100 NEETs;

8.  Notes that Belgium is planning seven types of measures for redundant workers covered by this application: (i) support/guidance/integration, (ii) facilitating job-search, (iii) integrated training, (iv) transfer of experiences, (v) support for enterprise creation, (vi) support for collective projects, and (vii) job-search and training allowances;

9.  Welcomes the support for collective projects; calls on the Commission to assess the results of this type of measure in other applications in order to determine its benefits to the participants;

10.  Welcomes that the application contains measures specifically aimed to provide assistance to NEETs; notes that the personalised services provided to NEETs shall include: (i) mobilisation and guidance either for further education/training or to follow induction sessions, (ii) training, (iii) personalised upskilling, and (iv) job-search and training allowances;

11.  Appreciates that the allowances and incentives to be provided as part of the proposed measures are limited to 5,52 % of the total estimated costs;

12.  Notes that the coordinated package of personalised services has been drawn up in consultation with social partners, enterprises and the public employment services;

13.  Recalls that, in line with Article 7 of the EGF Regulation, the design of the coordinated package of personalised services supported by the EGF should anticipate future labour market perspectives and required skills and should be compatible with the shift towards a resource-efficient and sustainable economy;

14.  Recalls the importance of improving the employability of all workers by means of adapted training and the recognition of skills and competences gained throughout a worker's professional career; expects the training on offer in the coordinated package to be adapted not only to the needs of the dismissed workers, but also to the actual business environment;

15.  Underlines that in the case of successive applications from the same geographical region the Commission should collect and analyse the experiences from previous applications and ensure that, in the case of new applications, any conclusion of that analysis is taken into due account;

16.  Asks the Commission to further detail, in future proposals, the sectors in which the workers are likely to find employment and whether the training on offer is aligned to the future economic prospects and labour market needs in the regions concerned by the dismissals;

17.  Notes that the Belgian authorities confirm that the eligible actions do not receive assistance from other Union financial instruments; reiterates its call to the Commission to present a comparative evaluation of those data in its annual reports in order to ensure full respect for existing regulations and that no duplication of Union-funded services can occur;

18.  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 for restructuring companies or sectors;

19.  Appreciates the improved procedure put in place by the Commission, following the Parliament's request for the accelerated release of grants; notes the time pressure that the new timetable implies and the potential impact on the effectiveness of case instruction;

20.  Asks the Commission to assure public access to all the documents related to EGF cases;

21.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution, including its Annex, to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 855.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.



on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (application from Belgium EGF/2015/007 - BE/Hainaut-Namur Glass)

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2016/407.)

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