The European Parliament and EU Member States in the Council just reached a political agreement on the European Social Fund+, the EU’s main financial tool to strengthen the social dimension of the Union.
The ESF+ is part of the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027 and has a total budget of €88 billion, aiming at building a more social and inclusive Europe. The EU distributes ESF+ funding to the Member States and regions to finance their agreed operational programmes.
The ESF+ contributes to the implementation of the European Pillar for Social Rights through actions in the area of employment, education and skills, and social inclusion. In addition, it will also support Member States to tackle the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
On 29th January, the Parliament and EU Member States in the Council agreed on the main objectives for the ESF+ programme. The primary focus will be fighting poverty, promoting social inclusion, and investing in children and youth employment.
The ESF+ main objectives:
- Invest in young people: ESF+ resources will target actions to support youth employment measures.
- Support the most vulnerable: 25% of the ESF+ resources will be allocated to promote social inclusion.
- Provide food and basic material assistance: 3% of their ESF+ resources will be allocated to integrate current Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).
- Invest in children: Member States with a level of child poverty above the EU average should use at least 5% of their ESF+ resources to address this issue. ESF+ resources will target actions to combat child poverty in all Member States.
- Directly support social innovation: New employment and social innovation strand of the ESF+ with a dedicated financial envelope of €676 million.
This European framework will have to be specified in each EU member state to be implemented.
The national operational programmes are currently being drafted and the Social Employers invites its members to take contact with their national and / or authorities to communicate them their needs in terms of funding and actions.
For more information on the ESF+, click HERE.