Today the European Commission made a proposal to allocate €1.8 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to the Dutch regions of Drenthe and Overijssel. This would support 800 former retail workers in finding new jobs
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The Netherlands applied for support from the EGF after the dismissal of 1,096 workers in 6 retail trade companies in the two regions, which went bankrupt recently.
Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: "In the whole of Europe, the retail sector has been hit hard by the financial crisis. As a consequence, thousands of people are left without a job, especially in Drenthe and Overijssel, where the retail sector is a major source of employment. Today's decision will help to prepare the former workers of six Dutch retail trade companies for new job opportunities. The Globalisation Fund is Europe's main instrument to show solidarity with those harmed by the crisis and it has proven its worth over the years."
Difficulties the Dutch retail sector has been facing were the result of both national and international trends. One of these is the stagnating purchasing power of indebted Dutch families, particularly in the middle price sector of consumer goods. This was reinforced by the declining trust of consumers in the economy.
On the other hand competition from domestic and international online purchase of goods had a considerable impact. The limited availability of credit for the retail sector – as the banking sector was reluctant to provide financing – prevented the sector from making investments and adapting to these new circumstances.
Because of the link with the financial crisis and globalisation, and because of the regional impact, recovery measures for former retail employers and the sector are eligible for support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The measures will aim at
- mapping potential and job perspectives of former retail workers,
- providing personalised advice,
- case management
A flexible pool for job seekers will be created and training and re-training will be foreseen, as well as services and start-up grants for new entrepreneurs.
67% of the beneficiaries are younger than 30 years old. The total estimated cost of the package is €3 million, of which the EGF would provide € 1.8 million. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for approval.