Spain has been granted approval by the European Commission for EUR382,200 (US$532,000) in assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).

The application was submitted after 515 employees involved in the production of electrical equipment for cars were made redundant by Lear Automotive in Roquetes in the county of Baix Ebre in Catalonia.

The application will now go to the European Parliament and the Member States - the EU's Budgetary Authority - for approval.

"The employment situation in the Baix Ebre county in Catalonia is particularly vulnerable," said EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Laszlo Andor.

"The EU Globalisation Fund will help the former Lear workers on the pathway to a new job. I am confident the planned job search measures funded by the EGF will make the workers' transition to a new job easier and faster."

The Spanish application relates specifically to 508 redundancies in Lear Automotive (EEDS) Spain, Sociedad Unipersonal, a company involved in the manufacture of electrical equipment for cars.

The dismissals were a consequence of the severe impact of the global financial and economic crisis on demand for vehicles in Spain and in its export markets.

Although the automotive sector had been experiencing difficulties mainly due to delocalisation before the crisis, the automotive industry in Catalonia managed to remain stable until early 2008.

The related fall in demand for electrical equipment for cars combined with the inability to reduce production costs, resulted in the closing down of the Lear production plant in Roquetes.

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