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€1.9 million from European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to support dismissed workers in Belgium

European Commission proposes to support 559 workers dismissed by the logistics company TNT in Belgium, with €1.9 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Displaced Workers (EGF). The funding will help them find new jobs through tailored guidance and advice, training, and support to start their own business.

Belgium applied for EGF funding support in November 2022 to help the workers dismissed by TNT Express Worldwide (Euro Hub) SRL, the Belgian subsidiary of FedEx. The dismissals result from the company's decision to downsize operations at Liège Airport and move those operations to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.

The support to the dismissed workers includes advisory services and job search assistance, tailored vocational reskilling and training in digital skills. Participants can also receive advice on how to start their own business and benefit from start-up grants of up to €15,000. The measures also include a variety of allowances for the workers, for instance financial incentives to participate in job-search and training activities, including for improving IT skills.

The total estimated cost of these measures is about €2.3 million, of which the EGF will cover 85% (€1.9 million). The Walloon Region in Belgium will finance the remaining 15% (€400,000). Support to the eligible workers started after the company dismissed the workers.

The Commission's proposal requires approval by the European Parliament and the Council.


TNT Group is a company active in logistics. When the FedEx Group took over the TNT Group in 2016, the company decided to make Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport the primary hub for its operations, linked to all European airports, as well as to airports in America, Asia and the Middle East. The airport in Liège was downsized to a secondary hub, linked only to some European airports. As a result, the company reduced the number of staff at Liège airport in 2022.

The redundancies concern the region of Wallonia in Belgium and the province of Liège in particular. Wallonia's unemployment rate is 8.7%, which is higher than an average of 5.9% at Belgian national level.

The redundancies at TNT have a particular impact on low-skilled workers and people aged 50 years and older, whose chances to find work tend to be low in the regional labour market. These are the workers that will particularly benefit from the EGF support measures proposed today. In addition, the current geopolitical and economic context, with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, impacts inflation and prices. The IWEPS (Wallonia's Institute for Evaluation, Foresight and Statistics) estimates the annual average growth rate in Belgian national employment for 2022 to be 1.3% lower than in 2021. In this context, TNT former workers will need additional and targeted support to increase their chances of finding new jobs.

Under the EGF regulation 2021-2027, the Fund supports displaced workers and self-employed people who have lost their activity. EGF support is more easily available for people affected by restructuring: all types of unexpected major restructuring events can be eligible for support, including the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's unjustified invasion of Ukraine, 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.

Overall, since 2007, the EGF has made available €688 million in 175 cases, offering help to more than 167,000 people in 20 Member States. EGF-supported measures add to national active labour market measures.

Source: European Commission

Photo: Shutterstock

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