The European Commission called on Oct. 20 for the EU to set up a half-billion-euro globalization "shock absorber" fund to cushion the impact of painful restructuring efforts in Europe. The fund would aim to help laid-off workers find a new job primarily by helping pay for training, relocation of workers and outplacement.
The fund, which would be financed by leftovers from the EU's annual budget, would be relatively modest in size, estimated to be about 500 million euros (US$600 million). The commission has come under fire recently for not doing enough to ease the pain caused by big restructurings as companies shift labor to countries outside of Europe with cheaper employees. French President Jacques Chirac accused the commission being indifferent toward a big restructuring of the European operations of Hewlett Packard, which has hit France particularly hard. The commission has responded by noting its authority to intervene in the matter is legally limited.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005