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Relocating companies must refund subsidies

13 March 2006

Speaking in the European Parliament during a debate on the relocation of the manufacturing industry to cheaper wage economies, DUP MEP Jim Allister rounded on EU policies which supposedly exist to promote economic cohesion in Europe, but in fact assist the drain of jobs eastward and beyond.  The Ulster MEP called for an enforceable facility to recoup EU aid from companies which soak up grants and then move on.

In the course of his remarks, Jim Allister said:-

"Relocation of industry to cheaper wage economies leaves in its wake economic and social hardship which divides, rather than unites, the regions of Europe.  Within the EU it is, of course, a product of the free movements guaranteed in the Treaty and it has come into focus as a real issue because of the precipitative speed and scale of enlargement.  With Cohesion Funding targeted on the new Member States, the situation is set to worsen.  This will lead to a development deficit in other European regions.  Policy, which facilitates relocation, damages social cohesion.

What is urgently required is a denial of EU funds, and a facility to recoup them, in respect of any company which relocates production to another Member States.  There is no future in robbing the old Member States of jobs in order to develop the new, and EU funds should play no part in that nor should we facilitate companies to soak up grants and then move on."

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