France has won the right from the European Commission (EC) to apply for nearly EUR25m (US$35m) to help 3,582 workers made redundant by Renault.

The EC approved the request for finance from its European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) after being asked by France to help secure employment for the redundant workers as well as those in seven subsidiaries and downstream producers.

The application will now be sent to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union - the EU's Budgetary Authority - for a decision.

"The financial crisis led to an economic slow-down which has hit the car industry particularly badly, said EU Commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion, Laszlo Andor. "Car production in Europe has dropped dramatically and its workers are still experiencing hardship.

"I am confident the support and training provided through the EGF will help the workers adapt their skills to the requirements of the 'green' innovations in the car and other industries, thus making their transition to a new job easier."

The French regions most affected by the redundancies are Ile-de-France, Haute-Normandie and Nord-Pas-de-Calais. In Ile-de-France the redundancies mainly took place in the Guyancourt Aubevoie plant, Renault's headquarters.

In the Haute-Normandie region, the job losses occurred in Cléon near Rouen and Sandouville, close to Le Havre.

Le Havre in particular has suffered dramatic industrial decline with few opportunities for the job-seekers, noted an EC statement. In Nord-Pas-de-Calais, the redundancies mainly took place in Douai and Maubeuge. Both towns are located in areas with high unemployment - 13.8 % and 15.5 % respectively.

The financial assistance from the EGF is targeted at the 3,582 most disadvantaged workers to help them find a job by providing advisory services training and re-training, support for business creation and allowances.

The total estimated cost of the package is EUR37.6m of which the EU will provide EGF assistance of EUR24.4m.