The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) approved in the European Parliament

The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) has been approved in its second reading in the European Parliament. It will remain the main EU instrument for investing in people and to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights proclaimed by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission as the EU’s compass for responding to social challenges in Europe. 

This Fund aims to support individuals, Regions and EU Member States to face distinct challenges such as recovering from the current pandemic or meeting the EU’s targets for employment, social inclusion, education and climate.  

The ESF+ integrates the former European Social Fund (ESF), the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) and the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), allowing beneficiaries to have access to funding, help them combine different types of measures and simplify funding management.

The budget for the 2021-2027 period is of around €88 billion, in 2018 prices (99 billion according to the esf website) that ESF+ will invest on:

  • Supporting young people: who have been particularly hard hit by the socio-economic crisis following the coronavirus outbreak. Member States should devote at least 12.5% of their ESF+ resources to help these young people find a qualification, or a good quality job.
  • Helping children in need by allocating ESF+ resources to targeted actions to combat child poverty, and supporting the most vulnerable in society suffering from job losses and income reductions, including providing food and basic material assistance to the most deprived 
  • Reskilling and upskilling people for the transition to a green and digital economy.
  • Transnational cooperation for promoting social innovation across the EU.
  • Direct support to social innovation through the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) strand.

Read more about the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) here.