Final approval has been given by the European Parliament for the European Union (EU) to spend EUR15.6m helping Swedish and Austrian auto industry workers who have lost their jobs through the global recession.

The money will come from the EU's Globalisation Adjustment Fund. It will finance re-training, self-employment assistance and career counselling for these workers. The European Commission is to hand the money to the relevant governments by 1 January 1.

The largest sum of money will go to Sweden, where Brussels is sending EUR9.8m. This is being complimented by Swedish government assistance, making a total pot of EUR15.1m available. It will be focused on the Västsverige (west Sweden) region bordering Norway, where  the bulk of 4,687 workers lost their jobs between December and March at Volvo Cars, its suppliers and downstream producers. There were additional jobs shed by Saab and Volvo AB and their suppliers.

In Austria, the globalisation fund will spend EUR5.7m (inflated to EUR8.7m with national government assistance). This money will help 400 former workers who recently lost jobs in Styria, Austria's auto industry heartland. The fund will spend a smaller EUR386,114 in the Netherlands on former road building workers.

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