The approval of 1.6 million euros in European aid for Walloon workers Carrefour made redundant has come to a standstill: too few member states want to support the proposal.
Last month, the European Commission proposed to allocate 1.6 million euros from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in order to help 400 redundant Carrefour workers find a new job. The money would be used, among other things, for active career guidance and vocational training. Carrefour Belgium undertook a major restructuring last year, with 950 workers losing their jobs. Because unemployment is already very high in Wallonia, Belgium asked the EU to support those workers made redundant in the region.
However, the European Commission’s proposal has now been blocked because too few member states want to approve it. Opponents are making the argument that the EGF is not intended to mitigate the effects of competition from e-commerce. "The Commission correctly recognises that job losses at Carrefour are a direct consequence of globalised trade patterns. Consequently, dismissed employees have the right to receive financial assistance from that fund", former Minister for Work Kris Peeters told Belgian business newspaper De Tijd.
Another Belgian former minister also reacted with indignation, referring to a similar situation in the Finnish retail sector in 2017. At that time, support measures were granted: "One should at least expect that all instances are treated in the same, uniform manner and that it is not a case of who the client is", he emphasised. Further consultations with representatives of the member states will follow today.