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European Commission - Press release
1,138 Spanish construction workers to get help €1.6 million support from EU Globalisation Fund
Brussels, 15 February 2012 – The European Commission has proposed today to provide Spain with €1.6m from the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 1,138 redundant construction workers back into employment. The money, requested by the Spanish authorities, will help the ex-workers from 513 mostly small enterprises. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for their approval.
"Construction in Europe, particularly in Spain, has plummeted and building workers are facing huge difficulties in finding new opportunities", said László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. He added: "I am confident that the EGF can increase the chances of these Spanish workers to find a new job".
The Spanish application relates to 1,138 redundancies in 513 small and medium sized enterprises operating in the construction of buildings sector in the region of Comunidad Valenciana. The dismissals were a consequence of the financial and economic crisis, which resulted in a substantial fall in demand for new houses and house renovation in this region, where the construction sector is an important employer.
All 1,138 redundant workers are targeted for assistance from the EGF. The package will help the workers by providing them with one-to-one counselling and guidance; skills assessment and outplacement; coaching; general training and re-training; individual vocational training; entrepreneurship promotion and support; participation incentive and a contribution to commuting expenses.
The total estimated cost of the package is €2.5 million, of which the European Union has been asked to provide EGF assistance of €1.6 million.
Available data confirms the significant downturn in the construction sector, which fell for seven consecutive quarters in the EU-27 (first quarter of 2009 to the third quarter of 2010). This was mainly due to the drop in private investment in the residential sector. In 2010, workers laid off in the construction sector accounted for 28.18 % of total layoffs in the region of Comunidad Valenciana, while in 2007 they had only accounted for 6.3 %.
The employment situation in the affected area seems particularly fragile, given the impact of the crisis on various other sectors, such as manufacture of furniture, shoes, textiles, ceramics and toys, which under other circumstances could have constituted safety-net sectors for the re-employment of former construction workers. The support of the EGF is therefore all the more essential, as it can help the workers to explore new and different opportunities.
There have been 97 applications to the EGF since the start of its operations, for a total amount of about €451.4 million, helping nearly 89,000 workers. EGF applications are being presented in a growing number of sectors, and by an increasing number of Member States.
The EGF, an initiative first proposed by President Barroso to provide help for people who lose their jobs due to the impact of globalisation, was established at the end of 2006. 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 onwards.
Spain's application falls under the EGF crisis derogation, which no longer applies since 1 January 2012.
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 for the next multiannual financial framework, while further improving its functioning.
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