New agreement will empower redundant workers to create new opportunities

It will soon be easier for citizens who have lost their jobs to get help in finding a new job or setting up their own business. On Wednesday evening, a provisional agreement revising the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for displaced workers (EGF) was reached between Parliament and Council.

“ As Renew Europe rapporteur, I welcome this agreement, which sends a clear message of European solidarity to all displaced workers, especially in these very difficult times,” says Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Member of the European Parliament who has represented Renew Europe in the negotiations.

The EGF was established in 2006 and is a concrete expression of European solidarity. The programme is part of the Multiannual Financial Framework stretching from 2021 until 2027, and will get a budgetary boost from 170 million euros per year to an annual average of 186 million euros.

“ The EGF fund is one of the most important tools of the European Union. It is the one that is often more closely felt by the citizens who having been made redundant are in a transitional and often vulnerable stage of their lives and we must work hard to ensure that access and opportunity is constantly created with its aid for Europeans to have a better life. This most recent change is vital for the flexibility of the European labour markets and I am glad to see that Renew Europe was at the forefront of the reform, as always”, says Dragos Pislaru, Member of the European Parliament and Coordinator of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee.

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament has actively pushed for the budgetary boost, increased flexibility and other improvements sealed in the deal. Renew Europe is convinced that the reform is strongly needed in times of high unemployment among citizens, caused by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and the UK soon leaving the European Union.

Currently, the fund is only available for workers made redundant due to causes linked to globalisation or global financial and economic crises. However, with Wednesday’s agreement the new rules will be broadened to include workers who lost their jobs due to any unexpected major restructuring events, including due to the transition to a low-carbon economy and the consequences of digitalisation and automation. It also lowers the threshold to mobilise the fund, from 500 displaced workers in a company or sector to 200, something Renew Europe has been fighting hard for.

“Making the EGF more accessible and helping as many workers as possible was our priority. Brexit, COVID-19, the automation of production chains, the greening of our economies and so on, will not be without impact on the labour market and on the workforce. After 2020, this fund will therefore be mobilised to accompany workers that have lost their jobs in all these cases”, says MEP Vedrenne.

“With the deal, the European Globalisation Fund for displaced workers is maturing and truly becoming an instrument of European solidarity for workers who have lost their jobs. This new EGF is a key instrument of a strong social Europe based on solidarity, that already exists but that needs to be more reactive and more visible”, says MEP Vedrenne.