EP approves EU aid for former workers at Irish jeweller and Greek retailer
Workers at fashion retailer Sprider Stores in Greece and at jewellery maker Andersen Ireland Limited in Ireland are to receive EU aid worth €8.8 million to help find or create new jobs. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid applications, already accepted by the Council of Ministers, were approved by Parliament on Wednesday.
Irish jewellery firm to get €1.5 million for 171 former employees
The jewellery maker Andersen Ireland Limited was forced to make 171 workers redundant as imports from Asia came to dominate the European market. This was exacerbated by growth in online sales as Andersen continued to rely on traditional distribution channels. The company operated in Rathkeale, in a region already hit by economic difficulties and high unemployment.
The €1.5 million EGF aid - the first to respond to difficulties in the jewellery sector - is for career and education support, as well as grants to start new firms.
Parliament approved the application by 568 votes in favour, 72 against and 12 abstentions.
Greek retailer to get €7.29 million for 761 people
Greece applied for EGF aid when fashion retail company, Sprider Stores, hit by the financial and economic crisis, made redundant 761 workers in Central Macedonia and the Attica region. Retail sales were hit by rising unemployment and a drastic reduction in loans to the private sector, due to the general austerity measures. The Greek economy has been in deep recession for the sixth consecutive year, with GDP down by a quarter and private consumption down by a third.
The €7.29 million EGF aid is mainly for training, job-search assistance and career guidance.
Parliament approved the application by 573 votes in favour, 75 against and 15 abstentions.
The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was set up to provide additional support for workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation or the financial crisis and to help them find new jobs.
Between 2014 and 2020, the annual ceiling of the fund is €150 million. Redundant workers are offered measures such as support for business start-ups, job-search assistance, occupational guidance and various kinds of training. In most cases, national authorities have already started taking measures and have their costs reimbursed by the EU when their applications are finally approved.