Employment: Commission proposes €1.6 million from Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help 400 workers made redundant in Carrefour Belgique

carrefour

(James Orr, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Commission has proposed to provide Belgium with €1.6 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 400 former workers of Carrefour Belgique to find new jobs.

EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen commented: “EU solidarity is key to support vulnerable workers. The retail sector is struggling to adjust to global trade changes. I am convinced that the proposed support from Europe’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund would help the affected workers in their transition to learn new skills, find new jobs or set up their own enterprises”.

Belgium applied for support from the EGF following the 1,019 redundancies in Carrefour Belgique. These job losses were the result of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation, in particular the increasing competition in the area of online shopping from sellers outside the EU.

Due to the particularly difficult employment situation in Wallonia, the financial support will be targeted towards 400 workers made redundant in that region. These former workers will be able to participate in the measures co-financed by the EGF. Along with the workers, up to 330 young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) under the age of 25 will also be offered support. Both workers and NEETs will be provided with active career guidance, job-search support, vocational training, promotion of entrepreneurship and contributions to start up their own business.

The total estimated cost of the package is €2.7 million, of which the EGF would provide €1.6 million. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers for approval.

Background

The increased competition from non-EU online stores has a major impact on the sales of conventional stores in the Union. The support package proposed today concerns the hypermarkets of Carrefour Belgique. Whilst the redundancies concern the whole of the country, Belgium expects that they have a particularly significant adverse impact in Wallonia. The expected impact is linked to the scarcity of jobs and the difficulties of redeployment for workers aged over 50. In 2018, the unemployment rate in Wallonia (8.6%) was more than twice the unemployment rate in Flanders (3.5%).

Increased open trade with the rest of the world leads to overall benefits for growth and employment, but it can also cost jobs, particularly in vulnerable sectors and among lower-skilled workers. In the spirit of European solidarity, and to help these groups adjust to the consequences of globalisation, the EGF was set up. Since starting operations in 2007, the EGF has received 161 applications. Some €635 million have been requested to offer help to more than 151,000 workers and 4,429 young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs).

The Fund continues during the 2014-2020 period as an expression of EU solidarity, with further improvements to its functioning. Its scope includes workers made redundant because of the economic crisis, as well as fixed-term workers, the self-employed, and by way of derogation, young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) residing in regions with a youth unemployment rate above 20%, up to a number equal to the redundant workers supported.

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