What is ESF



The ESF is one of the five European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs). Since 2014, ESIFs operate within a common framework and pursue complementary policy objectives. These funds represent the main source of Union investment to foster the economic recovery of the Member States and increase employment growth, while ensuring sustainable development, in line with the Europe 2020 objectives.

The ESF is the main tool used by the EU to support employment, help citizens find better jobs and ensure more workable opportunities for everyone. To this end, the ESF invests in the human capital of Europe: workers, young people and those looking for a job.


What are the objectives of the ESF in the period 2014-2020?

Job placement: The ESF will work with organizations across the EU to launch projects aimed at educating citizens and helping them find employment. Support will also be given to initiatives to support entrepreneurs through start-up funds and companies facing a reorganization or qualification of workers. Helping young people to enter the labor market will be a priority for the ESF in all Member States.

Social Inclusion: securing citizens a job is the most effective way to ensure their independence and financial security and to develop their sense of belonging. The ESF will continue to fund projects aimed at providing people with disabilities and those in disadvantaged groups the skills needed to find employment and enjoy the same opportunities as others.

Better education: The ESF finances EU-wide initiatives to improve education and training and ensure that young people complete their training path and acquire skills that will make them more competitive on the labor market. Among the priorities are also the reduction in the drop-out rate and the improvement of vocational and university education opportunities.

Better public administration: The ESF will step up efforts by the Member States to improve the quality of governance and public administration and will support their structural reforms by providing them with the necessary administrative and institutional capacity.


What are the main ESF changes in the 2014-2020 period?

From 2014, the role of the ESF will be strengthened through:

– greater attention to the fight against youth unemployment. The Youth Employment Initiative will help young unemployed and out of every cycle of education and training in regions with a youth unemployment rate of over 25%;

– the allocation of at least 20% of social inclusion funding through which people in difficulty and those from disadvantaged groups will receive more support so that they can enjoy the same opportunities for integration into society as they are to other citizens;

– Promoting gender equality and equal opportunities for all without any discrimination that will be an integral part of all actions and will be supported by specific initiatives;

– concentration of funding to achieve results by addressing their interventions on a limited number of priorities; The ESF seeks to provide a critical mass of funding sufficiently high to have a real impact on the main challenges faced by the Member States;

– the greatest support for social innovation, or to the testing and projection of innovative solutions aimed at meeting social, occupational and training needs;

– close collaboration with public bodies, social partners and organizations representing civil society at national, regional and local level throughout the cycle of the program;

– the application of innovative management rules to simplify the implementation of projects and to ensure greater focus on the results.



The European Union on 17.12.2013 has approved the new Cohesion Policy Regulations to be developed in the 2014-2020 period by investing 325 billion euros.
Taking into account the financial contribution of each Member State and the leverage effect of the financial instruments, the leveraged resources should exceed EUR 500 billion.
The objectives to be achieved, in strict accordance with the Europe 2020 strategy, concern growth and employment; Will also address the issues of climate change, energy dependence and social exclusion.
The enacted legislative package introduces important changes as it creates strong coordination of programming Community funds involved: ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), ESF (European Social Fund), Cohesion Fund, EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) and FEAMP (European Maritime and Fisheries Fund).

The cornerstones of the reform are:

Investing in all EU regions and adjusting the level of support and national contribution (co-financing rate) to their development levels.

– Addressing resources on key sectors for growth: About 100 billion Of the euro will be devoted to ERDF investments and focus on four key priorities: innovation and research, digital agenda, support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and low-carbon economy. About € 66 billion will be devoted, through the Cohesion Fund, to the Trans-European Transport Networks priority as well as projects for key environmental infrastructures. At least EUR 70 billion will be programmed by the ESF for cohesion policy by supporting EU priorities in employment (eg through lifelong learning and training), education and social inclusion (at least 20% will have to Be used for this purpose). The new initiative for youth employment of at least EUR 6 billion, linked to the ESF, will support the implementation of the guarantee for young people.

Establish clear, transparent and measurable objectives and parameters of responsibility and outcome: Countries and regions will have to state from the outset what goals they intend to achieve with the resources available and how they are being monitored. The programs that will show the best results towards the end of the period will be targeted for additional funding (efficiency and efficiency reserve). – Define the conditions before funding is targeted to ensure more effective investment: for example, “Intelligent specialization” aimed at identifying particular strengths and potentials, entrepreneurial reforms, transport strategies, measures to improve public procurement systems, respect for environmental regulations and strategies to combat Unemployment and school dispersal or promotion of gender equality and non-discrimination are all essential preconditions.

Define a common strategy to ensure better co-ordination and avoid overlapping: the Common Strategic Framework is the basis for a better Coordination between the Structural and Investment Funds Or European. This framework will also enable better linkage with other EU instruments. Reducing red tape and simplifying the use of Union investment through a common set of rules for all European Structural and Investment Funds as well as accounting rules Simpler and greater use of digital technologies (“e-cohesion”).

Increase the urban dimension of policy by allocating a minimum amount of resources to ERDF for integrated projects in cities.

Strengthening cross-border cooperation and facilitating the establishment of More cross-border projects.

Ensure that cohesion policy is better correlated to the broader EU economic governance: programs must be consistent with national reform programs and address the relevant reforms identified in country-specific recommendations in the context Of the European semester.

Encourage the use of financial instruments to provide greater SME support and access to credit: loans, guarantees and equity / risk will receive support from EU funds on the basis of common rules, widening the possibilities of their use and providing incentives. The emphasis on loans rather than subsidies should improve project quality and discourage subsidy dependency.

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