Lynn Boylan MEP calls for reform of European fund for redundant workers
Lynn Boylan, Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin, has called for significant reforms to be made to the administration of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), which provides support for workers who have been made redundant en masse as a result of globalisation or the economic crisis.
Ms Boylan was speaking from Brussels today where she addressed the Employment and Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, which is considering a report assessing the implementation of the EGF.
The Sinn Féin MEP said:
"When we're discussing possible reform of the EGF, the first thing we need to demand is that the European Commission must put the protection of jobs in Europe at the heart of its trade strategy, including in the current TTIP negotiations.
"However when jobs are lost we must ensure effective implementation of the fund set up to help redundant workers.
"The Irish experience has shown that lack of effective implementation has resulted in redundant workers missing out on the benefits that the EGF could provide.
"Millions of euros have been returned to the Commission unspent due to failures in the implementation of the scheme. In my constituency of Dublin, it is likely that €4m of EGF funds for redundant Lufthansa Technik unspent funds will be returned to the Commission if not spent by September - and this is only a matter of public knowledge due to a Freedom of Information request from Sinn Fein.
"Some of the reforms I believe could be proposed through the current process in the Employment Committee include increasing transparency.
"Mid-programme reporting to the European Commission and the relevant authorities in the Member State should be mandatory including details of estimated expenditure and additional actions for approval detailing how to avoid emerging underspends.
"There should be full public disclosure of the contents and conclusions of any mid-term review, including of the estimated spend to allow for greater public scrutiny and accountability.
"We are calling for an independent review of the implementation of the EGF programmes to date including a specific focus on the participation of NEETs', (young people not in training or education) in order to identify better practices for improving their uptake of the scheme.
The community and voluntary sector have a wealth of knowledge in engaging with these difficult to reach young people, yet they are not given a seat at the table when it comes to implementation of the EGF fund. This has to change.
"I will be campaigning for these necessary reforms among others over the coming weeks and months in my role on the Employment committee in order to maximise the benefits of the EGF to workers who have been made redundant in Ireland."