Gist of the opinion
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) supports the European Commission's proposal to extend the scope of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) temporarily to help workers made redundant as a result of the current international economic crisis.
The EESC believes that there is an urgent need for the Parliament, Council and Commission to step up negotiations so that the new Regulation can be adopted during the current term of office.
The EESC proposes that an evaluation of the EGF should be carried out 12 months after the publication of the Regulation in the Official Journal to review procedures and the management of the Fund, as well as to take stock of the economic situation and labour markets. The EESC is prepared to work in partnership with the European Commission on this evaluation.
The Committee agrees that the number of redundancies required to trigger access to the Fund should be reduced to 500; that the funding period should be increased from 12 to 24 months; and that the EU should raise its financial contribution from up to 50% to up to 75% of the estimated cost.
The EESC proposes that the social partners should be given a more active role at all stages in processing applications for EGF assistance at company, regional, national and EU level.
The Committee considers that the budget reserve of EUR 500 million may be insufficient and proposes that this reserve could be raised, with provisions for future increases, depending on how the economic crisis develops, to EUR 1 000 million.