This week the European Commission set out details of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. The fund could be worth up to £340 million. The aim of the fund is to help workers adapt to restructuring of key industries in the most harshly effected regions.
Under the proposed rules of the fund, money could be used in cases where the dismantling of a major company or industry effects 1000 people or one per cent of workers within the region.
The fund could be put towards the training of employees to prepare them for other jobs, as well as for helping them out financially for up to 18 months before they are laid off, in the form of income support allowances or complementary wage allowances for workers over 50.
It is estimated that the resources could help around 35,000 to 50,000 people working in the textile or automobile industry or any other sectors that may decline due to global pressures. It is also thought that the fund could boost European efforts to become more competitive.
However some of the new member states are not enthusiastic about the fund, as they fear it could be used by the older member states for restructuralisation, a situation that post-communist countries had to go through without any EU funds in the early 1990's.