Globalisation has boosted the EU's economic growth, has fostered prosperity and has helped keeping Europe competitive. On the downside, globalisation has increased inequality as it has uneven effects in various regions leading to wealth being unequally distributed. In a world where local problems are global and global issues become local, it is a shared responsibility of all levels of government to make the EU more resilient to the negative effects of globalisation.
In its opinion on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), drafted by Ximo Puig, President of the Valencia Region (PES/Spain), CoR members ask to reinforce the role of regional authorities in the management of the Fund, to increase its budget from €200 million to €500 million annually and to lower its intervention threshold to 150 employees.
"We must not only preserve but also boost the competitiveness of our economies. Yet, the guarantees for protecting and promoting our welfare system and labour rights must be reinforced correspondingly. Workers threatened by displacement shall also be considered beneficiaries of the new Fund and have the capacity to access tailored trainings and capacity building programmes. To maximise its positive effects, the direct participation and action of local and regional authorities in the management of the Fund should be strengthened", underlined PES member Joan Calabuig, Valencia's regional representative for European Affairs, who presented the opinion at the plenary session.
Valencia is one of the EU regions that has most significantly applied to and benefited from EGF. Since 2007, it has received €17 million for redundant workers in the ceramics, textiles, construction, footwear and metal sectors.
The opinion also proposes devoting more attention to the most vulnerable workers, such as those over 54 and under 30 years of age, people who suffer some type of disability, ethnic minorities and workers without any qualifications.
Last but not least, CoR members call on the European Commission to fix an intervention co-financing rate of a minimum of 60%, increased by a further 5% if anticipation and restructuring operational measures and instruments have been provided.
With the EGF opinion, the CoR is contributing to its revision as a new legislative proposal was laid down by the European Commission last May.