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Tuesday, 14 February 2017 - Strasbourg
Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2016/005 NL/Drenthe Overijssel Retail

European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2017 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (application from the Netherlands – EGF/2016/005 NL/Drenthe Overijssel Retail) (COM(2016)0742 – C8-0018/2017 – 2017/2014(BUD))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0742 – C8‑0018/2017),

–  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 (A8-0036/2017),

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 the Netherlands submitted application EGF/2016/005 NL/Drenthe Overijssel Retail for a financial contribution from the EGF, following redundancies in the economic sector classified under the NACE Revision 2 Division 47 (Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles) mainly in the NUTS level 2 regions of Drenthe (NL13) and Overijssel (NL21) and whereas 800 out of 1 096 redundant workers eligible for the EGF contribution are expected to participate in the measures;

E.  whereas the application was submitted under the intervention criteria of point (b) of Article 4(1) of the EGF Regulation, which requires at least 500 workers being made redundant over a reference period of nine months in an enterprise operating in the same economic sector defined at NACE Revision 2 Division and located in two contiguous regions defined at NUTS 2 level in a Member State;

F.  whereas there were significant changes in consumer sentiment, such as the decline in sales in the middle price category and the growing popularity of internet shopping; whereas the development of new shopping areas in many Dutch cities outside the city centres and the declining trust of consumers(4) in the economy also affected negatively the position of the conventional retail sector;

G.  whereas the Netherlands argues that the Dutch financial sector is, as a global player, bound by international rules, including rules for financial reserves, and that, as a consequence of having to meet the new international standards, the banks have lower resources than before for financing the economy;

H.  Whereas 1 096 redundancies were made in the retail sector between the 1 August 2015 and the 1 May 2016 in the regions of Drenthe and Overijssel, in the Netherlands;

I.  Whereas although retail and wholesale services provide 11 % of the Union's GDP and 15 % of total employment in the Union, that sector still suffers from the crisis;

1.  Agrees with the Commission that the conditions set out in point (b) of Article 4(1) of the EGF Regulation are met and that, therefore, the Netherlands are entitled to a financial contribution of EUR 1 818 750 under that Regulation, which represents 60 % of the total cost of EUR 3 031 250;

2.  Notes that the Netherlands submitted the application for a financial contribution from the EGF on 12 July 2016, and that the assessment of that application was finalised by the Commission on 29 November 2016 and notified to Parliament on 23 January 2017;

3.  Notes that the retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycle sector, has been the subject of 6 other EGF applications, all based on the global financial and economic crisis(5);

4.  Notes that weak financial position of the bigger department stores made it impossible to invest in other shop models in order to achieve the necessary changes and to be competitive again;

5.  Points out that, in the Netherlands, the labour market is recovering slowly from the crisis and that the effects are still visible in certain sectors and, like the retail trade, some sectors have only more recently started to really suffer from the consequences of the financial and economic crisis;

6.  Notes many redundancies in the Dutch retail sector in the past few months with the main department stores of the sector suffering from bankruptcies, which triggered a total number of 27 052(6) redundancies in the period 2011-2015; notes with regret that the volume of goods sold in the retail sector followed this pattern moving from -2 % in 2011 to -4 % in 2013, with purchases still 2,7 % under the 2008 level(7);

7.  Emphasises that the retail sector accounts for a considerable share of employment (17-19 %) in the NUTS 2 level regions Drenthe and Overijssel; notes that 5 200 retail shops have gone bankrupt since the start of the crisis with the largest department stores being affected only recently; regrets that this has contributed to an increase of 3 461 in the number of recipients of unemployment benefit in the retail sector of those regions between January 2015 and March 2016(8);

8.  Regrets that younger workers are the most affected with 67,1 % of the targeted beneficiaries being below 30 years old;

9.  Stresses the long period spent by the targeted beneficiaries neither working nor in education or training, as well as the long period, of over one year, between the date when the last redundancy took place (1 May 2016) and the time when the applicant Member State will start receiving EGF support;

10.  Acknowledges the fact that the Netherlands has indicated that the application, particularly the coordinated package of personalised services, has been drawn up in consultation with stakeholders, social partners, representatives of the retail sector and of the regions concerned;

11.  Notes that the application does not include any allowances or incentives referred to in point (b) of Article 7(1) of the EGF Regulation; welcomes the decision to limit the costs of technical assistance to 4 % of the total costs, leaving 96 % to be used for the package of personalised services;

12.  Calls on the Commission to study new ways of reducing the delay in providing EGF support through reducing the bureaucracy of the applications procedure;

13.   Notes that the EGF co-funded personalised services for the redundant workers include assessments of participants’ capabilities, potentials and job perspectives; job search assistance and case management; a flexible “mobility pool” for job seekers and employers with temporary jobs; outplacement assistance; training and retraining including entrepreneurship promotion training, coaching and grants;

14.  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;

15.  Notes that the Dutch authorities have provided assurances that the proposed actions will not receive financial support from other Union funds or financial instruments, that any double financing will be prevented, that they will be complementary with actions funded by the Structural Funds and that the requirements in national and Union legislation concerning collective redundancies will be complied with;

16.  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;

17.  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 of measures for restructuring companies or sectors;

18.  Asks the Commission to ensure public access to the documents related to EGF cases;

19.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

20.  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;

21.  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.
(5) EGF/2010/010 CZ/Unilever, COM(2011)0061; EGF/2010/016 ES/Aragón retail, COM(2010)0615; EGF/2011/004 EL/ALDI Hellas, COM(2011)0580; EGF/2014/009_EL/Sprider stores, COM(2014)0620; EGF/2014/013_EL/Odyssefs Fokas, COM(2014)0702; EGF/2015/011_GR/Supermarket Larissa, COM(2016)0210.
(7)Focus on consumption, Economic Agency ABN-AMRO Mathijs Deguelle and Nico Klene. Volume development retail sector. 24 January 2014. Retail sector prognoses, Economic Agency ABN-AMRO Sonny Duijn paragraph 1. 22 January 2016.
(8) Figures by UWV April 2016



on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund following an application from the Netherlands – EGF/2016/005 NL/Drenthe Overijssel Retail

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2017/559.)

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