On 24 September 2020, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó, Antoni Comín i Oliveres and Clara Ponsatí Obiols of the Non-attached Members posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“The management of the company Saint Gobain has announced its intention to close its glass factory located in the municipality of L’Arboç (Catalonia) due to organisational reasons and the fact that its glass-production furnace has come to the end of its useful life. However, the workers’ committee (comitè d’empresa) argues that investing in a new furnace would ensure the continuity of the factory for the next 25 years.
There are 174 workers directly affected by this decision and it is estimated that, as a result of the domino effect, 750 more jobs would be lost in the Baix Penedès area, which already has the highest unemployment rate in Catalonia.
1. Does the Commission consider that the company fulfils the necessary criteria to benefit from the Next Generation EU funds?
2. The Saint Gobain glass factory located in L’Arboç meets all EU environmental criteria. Can the Commission confirm that the other Saint Gobain glass factory located in the EU comply with all EU environmental standards?”
On 4 February 2021, Executive Vice-President Timmermans responded on behalf of the European Commission stating:
“1. Funds under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the cornerstone of Next Generation EU, will be distributed to Member States on the basis of their Recovery and Resilience Plans. It is the responsibility of the Member States, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, to define a coherent package of investment and reform initiatives for their Recovery and Resilience Plans that supports people to stay in work, creates new jobs and drives the recovery efforts within the twin green and digital transition.
The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for displaced workers (EGF) can provide assistance to permanently dismissed workers to help them find new employment, in accordance with the criteria defined in the EGF Regulation. The regulation for the period 2021-2027 is politically agreed and in the process of being formally adopted. Workers affected by restructuring may also qualify for retraining under the European Social Fund.
2. The Commission does not have compiled plant-by-plant information about the compliance with each of the EU environmental requirements. Some of these requirements are laid down in the directive on Industrial Emissions (2010/75/EU), whereby glass production factories must operate according to the Best Available Techniques (BAT) as defined in Commission Implementing Decision 2012/134/EU. The primary responsibility for the verification of compliance of implementation of these requirements by industrial operators lies with Member State competent authorities.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/migatronic-weld-speed-glass-metal-4510238/