The fact that the colossus of Greek retailing, Marinopoulos plc, has filed for bankruptcy while it continues to operate is expected to have a tremendous impact on the already stressed Greek economy. The 12 500 employees who face unemployment and the 3 000 suppliers who will not receive the money owed to them combined with the company’s large debts to the state and insurance funds are creating a situation that will affect the entire Greek market.

Can the Commission say:
1.     If the employees are made redundant, is it possible to apply for and receive funding from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) 2014-2020 to support them?
2.     What other measures does the Commission suggest should be taken to shield the Greek economy and to protect employees, suppliers, the state and funds from the potential collapse of this specific company?
3.     Has it planned to improve Community legislation on the protection of employees, suppliers and the state from similar bankruptcies in the EU?

Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission

1. Greece may apply for support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) provided that workers' redundancies can be linked to trade related globalisation or to the global financial and economic crisis(1). The Honourable Member may wish to contact the EGF Contact Persons for Greece(2), to know whether an application is being planned.

2. In addition to national measures that could mitigate the effects of the bankruptcy of such companies (e.g. national rollout of the Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme), the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) provide support in areas such as access to employment for jobseekers, adaptation of workers to change and active inclusion with a view to promoting employability. For further information, the Honourable Member may wish to consult the relevant website(3).

3. Directive 98/59/EC requires employers contemplating collective redundancies to consult with workers' representatives on ways to avoid such redundancies or to reduce the number of workers affected, and to mitigate the consequences by recourse to accompanying social measures. Directive 2008/94/EC consolidates employee rights in the case of employers' insolvency by providing that Member States (MS) ensure, through a guarantee institution, the payment of employees’ outstanding claims for remuneration for a minimum period of three months.

For further information, the Commission would like to refer the Honourable Member to the Commission reply to parliamentary Question E-005237-16(4).

(1) Regulation (EC) No 1309/2013, OJ L 347 of 20.12.2013, p 855.