European Social Fund 2014-2020: MEPs approve compromise with the Council

Twenty percent of European Social Fund (ESF) money will be used to combat poverty through labour market integration and at least €3 billion in ESF funding will be used to combat youth unemployment, according to an informal agreement with the Council approved by the Employment Committee on Monday. However, the minimum share of the EU cohesion policy budget to be allocated to the ESF for 2014-2020 will be decided by a plenary vote on Wednesday 20 November.

"The top concern of all EU citizens is employment. The European Social Fund is the EU tool enabling them to start work, return to work, and stay in work. If we are to help Europe out of its political, economic and social problems, we must promote labour market integration projects supported by the ESF", said Parliament’s rapporteur on the European Social Fund, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (EPP, FR).

The agreement reflects the Employment and Social Affairs Committee’s wish to step up efforts to combat poverty by allocating at least 20% of ESF resources in each member state for this purpose.

Besides mobility of employment and labour, education, qualifications and lifelong training, social inclusion and measures to combat poverty, the European Social Fund will support efforts to combat youth unemployment, as at least €3 billion in ESF funding is earmarked for the youth employment initiative.

Furthermore, procedures will be simplified, notably by granting aid in lump sums.

ESF’s minimum share of the cohesion policy budget

Employment and Social Affairs Committee MEPs had voted categorically to allocate 25% of EU cohesion policy funding to the European Social Fund. They believe it essential to increase resources allocated to improving skills and the quality of work at a time of economic crisis.

The ESF’s share of cohesion policy funding will be decided in a plenary vote on Wednesday 20 November on the common provisions of EU funds.

In the chair: Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR)
Result of the vote: 37 in favour, none against, 3 abstentions
Procedure: co-decision, first reading

Source: European Parliament

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