The European Parliament has approved the creation of a fund destined to help workers laid off in company restructurings prompted by globalisation to find new jobs.
The fund will cover up to half of the cost of retraining workers sacked because of international competition, the other half being funded by national governments.
The fund, which goes into operation next year, will dispose of an annual €500 million ($600 million), and can pay out up to €10,000 per worker.
Some 40,000 to 50,000 workers could be eligible for help every year.
It takes at least 1,000 lay-offs in a company or an economic sector for the fund to spring into action.
The first beneficiaries could be 2,200 workers whose jobs are to go after automaker Volkswagen decided to shift production of its Golf model back to Germany from Belgium.
"I believe that in the Volkswagen case, it would be easy for the Belgian government to prove that the European auto sector is faced with international competition," Roselyne Bachelot, a French conservative deputy said on Wednesday.
As in the Volkswagen case, the fund was not designed just to cover the impact of jobs migrating to low-cost countries outside the EU, but also of moves within the bloc.