• A €500 million EU fund to help workers who have been laid off as companies move to cheaper markets is open to question and open to fraud according to UKIP MEP and EU Former Chief Accountant Marta Andreasen.
The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGAF) which has already been earmarked to receive 500 Million Euro in the 2012 EU Budget, is designed to help retrain workers whose job losses are linked to changes in global trade patterns. However, there is the specific case of DELL Computers in Ireland and other examples in Spain where funds have been misused to the tune of 14.8 Million and 23 Million respectively.
Speaking from Brussels where the European Parliament’s Budget Committee just approved €9.6 Million to help ‘retrain’ workers from the General Motors plant in Antwerp, Marta Andreasen said:
“There is already a big question mark as to why European Taxpayers money should be used to fund redundancy training for large multi-national companies, many of whom have posted multi-million profits. Unilever and General Motors are two such companies.
“Bigger questions however exist. There are no adequate controls in place to make sure that the funds are being effectively used to train employees who have been laid off. What is the point in retraining employees for industries that have already moved elsewhere?
“With Dell in Ireland, 14.8 Million was given to workers who were laid off. Yet structural funds were also given to Poland to attract Dell. This is a nonsensical approach akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul within an EU framework, the burden of which fell on EU taxpayers in both cases. Many believed that the EGAF was being used to buy support for the Lisbon treaty, which was taking place at the time.
“In Spain, El Pais newspaper reported in march of this year that up to 5870 small companies in Andalucia who were in receipt of EU Funds to help workers, were misappropriating the funds. The funds obliged them to keep workers on for 4 years, however many were let go after 15 days, the companies involved presumably keeping the remaining money for themselves.
“Whilst I have every sympathy for workers who are being laid off as a result of the financial crisis, rich multi-national companies should have their own schemes in place to help retrain those workers affected by job losses in return for the profits they have made in the past. These are huge amounts of taxpayers cash we are talking about here, and considering that there are clear examples that the checks and balances are lacking and the system is being abused, it is clear to me that the EGAF should be discontinued.”