European Social Fund

THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND - Programme period 2007-2013

On 1 January 2007 the new European Social Fund (ESF) legislative framework came into force and it will run until 2013. The new programming period offers interesting opportunities to a wide range of stakeholders, including social partners, in order to act for reforms in the field of employment and labour market inclusion (art.3.1 of the ESF Regulation). Social partners are recognised as key actors, together with Member States, in implementing the Lisbon strategy's objectives and priorities and they will continue to be beneficiaries under all the ESF priorities in all Member States. In particular, an appropriate proportion of the ESF financial resources shall be allocated to support social partners in two kinds of activities (either jointly or individually managed by the two side of the industry):

  1. capacity-building activities (i.e. training, networking measures designed to strengthen the social dialogue);
  2. actions jointly undertaken by social partners (i.e. activities related to adaptability of workers and companies, as a consequence of industrial change)

In the course of 2009, the European Social Partners have undertaken actions to examine and discuss how social partners are participating in the ESF and how this can be improved. Moreover, as a result of the economic crisis, it was decided to also look into the use of the ESF to support economic recovery and mitigate the consequences of the economic crisis on employment. A survey of national social partner organisations was launched and the results provided the basis for further discussions in a joint seminar which took place on 15 December 2009 .

  • European Social Fund: Results of European Social Partners' joint survey and seminar: EN

The ETUI-REHS and the ETUC have produced a useful handbook to support trade union representatives involved in the various committees established under the ESF. This Guide also gives information on the recent reform of the ESF, the Structural Funds in general as well as on the principle of partnership.

  • The European Social Fund 2007-2013: a handbook for trade unions (June 2007)
    BG  CS  DE  EN  ES  FR  IT  PL  RO

The ETUI-REHS educational department also runs training courses addressed to trade union confederations on the content of the ESF, as one of the main tools for promoting and implementing the European Employment Strategy. For information on forthcoming courses on this issue please click here.   

For other useful sources of information on the new programming round of the ESF, please refer to the following texts or links:

  • EC document "Social Partners as beneficiaries: European Social Fund support to social partners in the 2007-3013 period", adopted in November 2007.

  • Regulation 1081/2006 on the European Social Fund
  • Sourcebook on sound planning of ESF programmes, European Commission, 2007 .
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