European Globalisation Adjustment Fund : Irish Egf Compromise Fails

Article excerpt

The Irish Presidency has not managed to garner the support of a qualified majority of member states on its third compromise proposal on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). At the meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), on 23 May, a blocking minority - Germany, the UK, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Latvia - refused to grant the Presidency a negotiating mandate. The main stumbling blocks were: extending the EGF to crisis situations and the co-financing rate, which some of these countries consider too high. As a result, the dossier will be reviewed by the ministers at the Employment and Social Affairs Council, on 20 June.

THREE CONTENTIOUS ISSUES

In October 2011, the Commission presented a draft regulation to maintain, after 2013, this tool, which helps redundant workers find work again. The Commission was suggesting - compared to the current programming period - extending the list of EGF beneficiaries to include self-employed workers and for the EGF to be activated in the case of crises that cause serious disruptions in local, regional or national economy. The Commission had also proposed setting the co-financing rate at 50%, with the possibility of going up to 65% for countries that have at least one region eligible to the Structural Funds convergence objective.

In an attempt to assuage the reluctance of the member states, the Presidency presented several compromises that addressed these three contentious issues. …