EU rewards protectionism with British taxpayers’ money

British taxpayers will ask why the European Commission has agreed to send 28 million pounds of taxpayers’ money to Italian textiles workers, many of who have suffered in the global fashion market as a result of their government and the EU’s own backward trade policies, Sir Robert Atkins MEP, has said.

The commission has approved four applications from Italy under the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF). The money is intended to assist Italy retrain 6,000 textiles workers made redundant as a result of globalisation. But Sir Robert has said that, while all redundancies are extremely tragic, too many southern European producers have for years hidden behind trade barriers and EU protectionism, supported by Italian politicians, rather than prepare for globalisation. In contrast, the fashion industry in northern Europe - particularly London - restructured to take advantage of outsourcing and has been able to pass on the benefits to retailers and customers, especially families on low incomes.

Sir Robert said:

“Many British taxpayers — especially families on low incomes - will ask why Italian textile workers are being singled out for assistance when potentially thousands of unfortunate people are losing their jobs around Europe.

“Why are British taxpayers being asked to pay out for unfortunate redundancies, many of which were caused by the Italian textile sector’s refusal to change with the times?

“Many of Italy’s textiles companies have been either unwilling or, thanks to their government’s protectionism, unable to take advantage of globalisation. If Italian manufacturers had undergone the painful restructuring to take advantage of outsourcing as many London fashion houses did, they would not be suffering so much pain now.

“If the EU really wants to help textiles workers and manufacturers in southern Europe, it should immediately drop the import tariffs on shoes, and reform its entire trade policy, which is destroying jobs across the EU, and pushing up prices for consumers.”

Top ↑