Brussels, 19 October 2012
Employment: Commission proposes €5.2 million from Globalisation Fund for former social workers in Austria
The European Commission today proposed to provide Austria with €5.2 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 350 workers made redundant by enterprises providing social assistance in Steiermark (Styria, Austria). The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for their approval.
European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: "As a result of the crisis, funding for social services was cut, which led to the dismissal of workers. I am confident that this proposal for €5.2 million from the EGF will assist the social workers to find new work as soon as possible, in areas where well qualified workers are needed."
Austria applied for support from the EGF for 1,050 redundancies in 105 welfare providers, limited liability companies and small enterprises operating in the social work sector in Steiermark. The application was filed under the derogation that existed from May 2009 until the end of 2011 for the EGF to be used for measures to help people made redundant as a result of the financial and economic crisis.
The package of EGF co-funded measures aims to help the dismissed workers by offering them advisory services, such as career guidance and active job search support, various types of training including training towards business creation, as well as allowances for the duration of the training and job search activities.
The total estimated cost of the package is approximately €8 million, of which the EGF would provide €5.2 million. Some 350 workers are expected to participate in the measures.
The dismissals in Steiermark's mobile social services sector (provision of mobile social services for people with handicaps and mobile youth assistance) occurred as a result of reductions in the social budget as a result of the current economic and financial crisis.
As a consequence of the budget cuts, Steiermark's social service providers first reduced their activities (implementing shorter working hours for staff) and subsequently started dismissing workers from mid-2011 onwards.
Steiermark is one of Austria's nine federal provinces and also one of Austria's four most industrialised regions. In November 2011, Styria's unemployment rate (6.2 %) was considerably higher than the unemployment rate of Austria as a whole (4.1 %). The health and social services sector of Steiermark was particularly hit by the economic and financial crisis and its consequences, and unemployment in the sector was 7.5 % higher in March 2012 than in the same period of the previous year, a rate topped only by the construction sector where the increase in unemployment during the same period was 10.6 %.
There have been 102 applications to the EGF since the start of its operations in 2007. Some €438.4 million has been requested to help about 91,000 workers. EGF applications are being presented to help redundant workers in a growing number of sectors, and by an increasing number of Member States.
The EGF was established at the end of 2006 and was designed to demonstrate solidarity from the many who benefit from openness to the few who face the sudden shock of losing their jobs. In June 2009, the EGF rules were revised to strengthen the role of the EGF as an early intervention instrument forming part of Europe's response to the financial and economic crisis. The revised EGF Regulation entered into force on 2 July 2009 and applied to all applications received from 1 May 2009 to 30 December 2011.
Building on the experience acquired with the EGF since 2007 and its value added for the assisted workers and affected regions, the Commission has proposed to maintain the Fund also during the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework, while further improving its functioning.
László Andor's website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/andor/
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