European Social Fund + (ESF+)

Investing in People

The European Social Fund + (ESF+) is the EU’s main instrument for investing in people. During the next seven years the ESF+ will continue to contribute to the EU’s employment, social, education and skills policies. It will also serve as one of the key tools to bring about EU socio-economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The new ESF+ will serve as a combination of four programmes these being the European Social Funds, the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived, the Youth Employment Initiative and the European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation. The new ESF+ now brings together a number of different programmes into one cohesive programme. The ESF+ merges the ESF, the Youth Policy Initiative (YEI), Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, Employment and Social Innovation programme (EaSI) and the Health Programme.

The objectives of the ESF+ are the following:

  1. to support Member States to tackle the crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic;
  2. to achieve high employment levels and fair social protection;
  3. to develop a skilled and resilient workforce ready to transition to a green and digital economy.

It is important to note that the ESF+ is mainly managed by Member States, with the Commission playing a supervisory role. As a result the funding is implemented through the:

  • shared management strand, were it is implemented by Member States in partnership with the Commission;
  • the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) Strand, implemented by the Commission.

When it comes to the ESF + eligible activities include:

  • training and capacity building;
  • awareness raising activities;
  • surveys, gathering of data and studies;
  • communication and awareness raising activities.

The funding mechanism under this programme works through eligible costs, where the eligible costs highlighted under each call will be financed.

Eligible applicants under this call include non-governmental entities and public bodies.

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