Resistance to plan to renew EU job-loss scheme


THE GOVERNMENT is campaigning with several other European countries to renew an EU funding scheme for workers made redundant in the financial crisis but Germany, Britain and other member states are resisting.

“There seems to be divided opinion within the council,” said Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton on the fringes of a meeting of employment ministers.

Ireland has already drawn down €61.5 million from the EU’s globalisation fund, with the money going to help former staff at Dell, Waterford Crystal, aircraft maintenance firm SR Technics, and thousands of redundant construction workers.

The scheme was set up to fund retraining and education for workers who lose their jobs due to globalisation. It is also used to fund career guidance and for grants to help workers to start new businesses. The fund was widened to support people fired due to the financial crisis but that avenue was closed last year.

A European Commission plan to include a similar but bigger scheme in the EU’s next budget round – from 2014 to 2020 – has now run into trouble.

The scheme could be advantageous to Ireland if it goes ahead eventually, as it would allow special funding for people who lose jobs in the self-employed and farm sectors. In addition, bailout recipients would be obliged to put up less of their own money to draw down additional EU money.

“Ourselves, Spain, France, Romania, Italy, Belgium, Bulgaria: several countries spoke in favour but there are several countries who would be against it,” Mr Bruton said.

Asked which member states were opposed, the Minister said countries such as Germany, Britain, Sweden and Estonia.