The ESF+ is the result of a merger between the existing European Social Fund, the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), the European Development Fund (EDF), the EU’s Employment and Social Innovation Programme (EaSI) and the EU Health Programme. It is the EU’s main instrument for investing in human resources and implementing the European pillar of social rights.
The ESF+ is divided into 3 components: the ESF+ component under shared management, the employment and social innovation component and the health component (both under direct and indirect management).
- Helping Member States to achieve high levels of employment, fair social protection and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work
- The specific objectives to be supported by the ESF” are based on the principles set out in the European social rights foundation, and are as follows:
- Improving access to employment for all job seekers, in particular young people and the long-term unemployed, and inactive people, to promote self-employment and the social economy
- Modernising labour market institutions and services to assess and anticipate skills needs and provide timely and appropriate assistance and support to meet the challenges of labour market matching, transitions and mobility
- Promoting women’s participation in the labour market, a better work-life balance, including access to childcare, a healthy working environment, well adapted and equipped against health risks, adaptation of workers, enterprises and entrepreneurs to change and healthy and active ageing
- Improving the quality, efficiency and labour market relevance of education and training systems to support the acquisition of key competences, including e-skills
- Promoting equal access to, and participation in, inclusive and quality education and training, in particular for disadvantaged groups, from early childhood education and care, through general and vocational education and training and higher education to adult learning, and facilitating learning mobility for all
- Promoting lifelong learning, including flexible opportunities for professional development and re-skilling for all, taking into account e-skills, better anticipating change and new skill requirements based on labour market needs, facilitating occupational transitions and promoting occupational mobility
- Promoting active inclusion to foster equal opportunities and active participation, and improve employability
- Promoting the socio-economic integration of third-country nationals and marginalised communities such as the Roma
- Improving equal and timely access to affordable, sustainable and quality services; modernising social protection systems, including by promoting access to social protection; improving the accessibility, efficiency and resilience of health care systems and long-term care services
- Promoting the social integration of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion, including the most deprived and children
- Combating material deprivation by providing food and/or material assistance to the most deprived, including through accompanying measures
- Challenges identified in the context of the European semester in the light of the European pillar of social rights, including:
- Technological change and globalisation require reformed education and training systems
- Despite the improvement in the employment situation, long-term and youth unemployment in the EU remains high
- The proportion of people at risk of poverty and/or social exclusion remains high
- Important demographic trends, such as population ageing or new migration flows, are affecting European society and the world of work
- Measures to support employment and activation of young people
- At least 25% of ESF funding to measures promoting social inclusion and targeting the most deprived people.