MEPs have approved almost €320 million in EU aid to assist Croatia after earthquakes, and €6.8 million for 1121 recently redundant workers in Italy and Spain.
Croatia should receive almost €320 million in financial assistance from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) following a series of earthquakes between 28 December 2020 and 21 February 2021. This includes an advance of €41 million that has already been disbursed. Details on the funding can be found in the Commission’s proposal and in Parliament’s report by Karlo Ressler (EPP, HR), which was passed by MEPs on Tuesday by 689 votes, 6 against and 2 abstentions, approving the aid.
EU employment aid for over 1100 dismissed workers in Italy and Spain
MEPs also approved requests from Spain and Italy for support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Displaced Workers (EGF). In doing so, MEPs said that, in Italy, “the social impacts of the redundancies are expected to be considerable for the Sardinian economy, which was also significantly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and where employment numbers fell by 4,6 % in 2020 compared to a decrease of 2,0 % in Italy as a whole”.
In supporting Spain’s request, MEPs said “the COVID-19 pandemic, the strict lockdown measures implemented in the second quarter of 2020 in Spain and the subsequent shortage of semiconductors have adversely affected the automotive sector in the country (…).”
€5.4 million is intended to help 801 workers dismissed from their jobs in air transport and warehousing in Sardinia, Italy, and €1.4 million is to support 320 workers who lost their jobs in the automotive sector in Spain’s Aragón region. Support will range from career guidance and tailored job-search support, to acquiring new or additional skills, vocational and on-the-job training, and support and funding for them to start a business.
The three reports approving the aid - two on Italy by rapporteur Janusz Lewandowski, (EPP, PL), and one on Spain, by rapporteur Esteban González Pons (EPP, ES) were passed on Tuesday by:
-662 votes, 17 against and 18 abstentions (Air Italy),
-by 665 votes, 17 against and 15 abstentions (Porto Canale, Italy)
-and by 665 votes, 27 against and 5 abstentions (Aragon automotive, Spain).
Under the new 2021-2027 EGF regulation, the Fund will continue to support workers and self-employed people whose activity has stopped. The new rules allow support to be given to more people affected by having their jobs or sector restructured: all types of unexpected major restructuring events are eligible for support, including the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as larger economic trends like decarbonisation and automation. Member states can apply for EU funding when at least 200 workers lose their jobs within a specific reference period.