Mercoledì, 26 Settembre 2018
BRUSSELS

Vestager promises Calenda 'intransigence' on Embraco (2)

English
© ANSA

Brussels, February 20 - European Competition
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has promised to be
"intransigent" on Embraco's moving 500 Italian jobs to Slovakia,
Industry Minister Carlo Calenda said after meeting her Tuesday.
As European Parliament chief Antonio Tajani said the
"unacceptable" situation highlighted the need for deep and swift
changes to the EU, Calenda said the talks with Vestager on a
possible exemption from State-aid rules had gone "well".
Vestager, he said, will hold a press conference Wednesday and
she has "a very clear view of the issue".
He said "she assured me that the Commission is very
intransigent in assessing cases flagged up where there is a
problem of the wrong or not permitted use of aid, or worse,
State aid to attract (business) by countries that are part of
the EU".
Calenda sent an encouraging message to Embraco workers not to
give up the fight against the Whirlpool unit shutting its
Italian plant and moving the jobs to Slovakia.
"Let's not give up, we are working at all levels, we are
working here (in Brussels), we are working with Invitalia which
has started mapping out alternative projects for
industrialisation, we won't give up as happened in other crises
before this one," Calenda said in Brussels.
Earlier Calenda said he would ask Vestager for an exemption
from EU treaties on State aid to deal with the case of Embraco,
the US multinational Whirlpool unit that is sacking its 500
Italian employees as it moves production to Slovakia.
"There are structural conditions," that mean eastern European
countries have lower labour costs, he said.
"I couldn't frame a rule saying that labour costs should be
so much lower for Embraco, because that would be State aid. But
I think you can interpret the treaties to say that in this
specific case, of a firm moving to Slovakia, the norm may be
flouted.
"Let's see what Vestager's answer is".
Embraco on Monday refused to change plans to sack its 497
workers at Riva di Chieri near Turin, prompting Calenda to say
he would no longer "meet this scum".
Calenda had asked the Brazilian company to agree to use a
government layoff fund, but Embraco refused point blank.
An Embraco worker, Daniele Simoni, on Tuesday chained himself
to the factory gates.
"I don't want to give up, it's my factory that fed me for 25
years, as long as there's a chink of light I won't give up", he
said.
Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti said the government was
ready to employ "social buffers" to help the 500 workers who are
being laid off as Embraco moves its production to Slovakia.
"We will work alongside the workers to foster the process of
reindustrialisation of that site and we are ready to use social
buffers in favour of a project that will give continuity to the
firm," he said, referring to lay-off funds.
"We view as unacceptable the conduct of the company which has
chosen not to withdraw the firings," Poletti went on.
This would have "allowed us to start the process of
reindustrialisation. Something that is not possible in this
phase".
Meanwhile, back in Brussels, Tajani said the situation at
Embraco is "unacceptable".
Speaking after meeting Calenda, Tajani said the situation
"shows that Europe must be profoundly changed, and rapidly."
He said "this must be a joint commitment of any future
Italian government".
Tajani has been touted by centre-right leader Silvio
Berlusconi as a possible premier.
European trade unions, for their part, urged Embraco to halt
the closure of its Italian plant and the production move to
Slovakia.
"We will do everything possible to block this operation,"
said Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade
Union Confederation (ETUC).
Visentini told ANSA "we must also strengthen and simplify the
EU fund to compensate the effects of globalisation".

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