European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) new Regulation

Concluding a journey started in 2018 and following the vote of the European Parliament on June 8th and the approval of the Council of the EU, the Regulation (EU) 2021/1057 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 June 2021 establishing the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1296/2013 was published on the Official Journal of the European Union of the ESF+.

Link to the regulation here.

With a budget of 88 billion euros for the period 2021-2027, its goal is to face the worst aspect of the pandemic in term of poverty and social exclusion and to implement the action plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

For the period 2021-2027, the ESF+ is one of the main funding instruments to invest in people and to help Member States achieve the targets set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan.

The new ESF+ merges:

  1. European Social Fund (ESF)
  2. Youth Employment Initiative (YEI)
  3. Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)
  4. EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)

Key points of the new ESF+:

  • Member States need to allocate 25% of ESF+ funds to social inclusion;
  • All Member States will devote at least 3% (on top of 25%) of their ESF+ resources to provide food and basic material assistance to the most deprived. The co-financing rate is fixed at 90%;
  • Member States with a level of child poverty above the EU average should use at least 5% of their ESF+ resources to address this issue. All other Member States must allocate an appropriate amount of their ESF+ resources to targeted actions to combat child poverty;
  • Capacity building for social partners and civil society organisations: all Member States need to allocate an appropriate amount (at least 0.25% for MSs with countryspecific recommendations);