The European Commission has made payments to Belgium and Denmark from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The total amount of €30,023,247 will help 4 609 dismissed workers back into employment, following their redundancy in three sectors: shipbuilding, manufacture of wind turbines and car manufacturing.
€9.5 million will help 2 834 former workers of General Motors in Belgium and four of its suppliers and downstream producers. As a result of the drop in demand for cars following the economic and financial crisis, the management of General Motors took the decision to close the main production line for the Opel Astra model at its Belgian plant in Antwerp.
€20.4 million will help 1 775 dismissed workers in Denmark: 950 former workers of Odense Steel Shipyard and 825 former workers of LM Glasfiber, a wind turbine manufacturer. Shipyards in Europe have been losing substantial market shares to Asia in recent decades. The global financial and economic crisis then further reduced demand for ships worldwide. This fall in demand prompted the closure of the shipyard and the resulting redundancies.
Reacting to a slowdown of the demand for its products in Europe, LM Glasfiber moved its activities to China, where the market in the wind energy sector is growing fast. The company increased its production capacity in China by constructing two new factories.
These payments follow approval by the Budgetary Authority – the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers – on 6 July 2011.
The payments in support of the workers made redundant by GM Belgium and Odense Steel Shipyards were granted on the grounds of the global financial and economic crisis – EGF funding has been available for this since 1 May 2009 and is due to end on 30 December 2011. However, the Commission has proposed extending this provision until 31 December 2013.