European Social Fund: conference to promote more effective and efficient implementation in 2014-2020
To ensure an efficient and effective use of the more than €70 billion (more than €80 billion in current prices) available to Member States from the European Social Fund (ESF) in the 2014-2020 period, the European Commission, together with the Greek Presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers, is bringing together policy makers and ESF stakeholders at a conference in Brussels on 6-7 February. The conference will focus on which policies the ESF could and should support under the new investment priorities and on new ways to use the ESF. László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, and Giannis Vroutsis, Greek Minister of Labour, will be opening the conference.
"Investing in people's skills and improving their opportunities are essential to achieve sustainable and inclusive recovery. In the present context of multiple social and economic challenges, the Commission is working closely with Member States to ensure the most effective use of ESF money for the 2014-2020 period, seizing every opportunity provided by the new regulations", said Commissioner László Andor.
The conference will focus on new ESF policy areas and tools. In this context, the Commission is helping Member States to simplify use of the ESF in order to focus more on results and facilitate access to funding, especially for smaller beneficiaries.
Participants will discuss how the ESF can best support the achievement of priorities identified in the Country Specific Recommendations and Commission services' Position Papers, thereby helping Member States to meet the Europe 2020 employment and poverty reduction targets.
The recently adopted European Code of Conduct on Partnership (IP/14/5) will also be discussed. It is an important innovation in the 2014-20 period which will also help tomaximise the impact of the ESFby strengthening the role of partners such as regional, local, urban and other public authorities, trade unions, employers, non-governmental organisations during the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects.
In the framework of the conference, the Commission has issued two new ESF th ematic papers on Promoting inclusive growth and Promoting good governance.
Taking into account its complementarity with the ESF, a session at the conference will be also dedicated to the launching of the new Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme, which integrates and extends the coverage of three existing financial instruments: the Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity (Progress), the European network of Public Employment Services EURESand theEuropean Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship Facility. EaSI was adopted by the EU's Council of Ministers in December (IP/13/1212), and will make €920 million available for the 2014-2020 period.
As the number of participants is limited, the plenary sessions in the morning of 6 and 7 February will be web streamed via the ESF website.
Questions can be raised during the plenary sessions viaTwitter(#EUfunds).
Investing in human capital is the core purpose of the ESF as it is one of the main drivers for competitiveness, sustainable growth and recovery.The ESF is Europe’s main instrument for helping people get better jobs and qualifications and integrating the disadvantaged into society.In 2014-2020, for the first time in the history of EU cohesion policy, a minimum budget representing at least 23.1% within cohesion policy funding has been allocated to the ESF - see MEMO/14/84.
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