On 1 April, Renew Europe welcomed the announcement by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen of a short-time work scheme, SURE, to avoid mass lay-offs during the coronavirus pandemic.
This move reflects a request made to President von der Leyen by Renew Europe in a letter dated the 20 March for the mobilisation of significant additional funding to support the urgent implementation by Member States of employment protection programmes such as short time work schemes. Renew Europe believes this assistance will avoid the dismissal of workers and minimise job losses if Members States run out of means to provide this themselves.
Renew Europe will assess the details of the proposals once formally adopted by the European Commission.
Dacian Cioloş, President of Renew Europe said:
“Saving jobs today is the first milestone for a quick recovery tomorrow. With this much-welcomed announcement, Italian, Spanish and other workers from across Europe will receive the clear signal that Europe is with them in overcoming the economic impact of COVID-19. Our response must match the gravity of the crisis that we face.”
“This is an important step, which is very necessary to show the European Union is responding to the crisis in the European labour market in a coordinated and efficient manner. Europe’s solidarity with its workers and all its Member States must be absolute.”
Responding to the European Commission’s announcement on the SURE programme, Vice-President of Renew Europe and Coordinator on the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee, Luis Garicano, said:
“Since the beginning of the crisis, we have been calling for the creation of a European scheme to support national employment protection programmes that are similar to the Kurzarbeit programme. This scheme would contribute to cover a portion of the wages that each worker has to forgo as a direct result of Coronavirus. This is exactly what’s been announced, and we welcome the proposal.”
“The European Union urgently needs to take action, before there is a greater sense in Spain, and specially Italy, of a lack of European solidarity amongst the public. By launching this programme, the EU shows that we will fight this virus together and with solidarity. The EU demonstrates that the Italian and Spanish workers, who are enduring this crisis, are not alone.”
Dragoș Pîslaru MEP, Renew Europe Coordinator on the Employment and Social Affairs Committee welcomed the proposal:
“We are glad to see that the proposals of Renew Europe stay at the forefront of the European agenda. EU employers need to feel that their resolve is backed by common action to keep the economy running. EU workers need to know that during the crisis their jobs will not disappear. We in the Renew Employment team have advocated all along for an employment protection facility that will allow more flexible solutions, including compensation for short-work time and the upskilling or re-skilling staff while we have spare time due to the crisis restrictions. The SURE scheme would prepare us better for a determined recovery plan and the launch of an ambitious new skills agenda for Europe.”