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European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) 2021-2027 [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Marie Lecerf (3rd edition, updated on 29.03.2019),

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© Doreen Salcher / Fotolia

In preparation for the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) on 30 May 2018. In the same spirit as the current European Social Fund 2014-2020, the ESF+ will provide the main EU financial instrument for improving workers’ mobility and employment opportunities and strengthening social cohesion, improving social fairness and increasing competitiveness across Europe for the 2021-2027 period. With a provisional budget of €101.2 billion (current prices), the ESF+ should merge the existing European Social Fund (ESF), the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), and the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived (FEAD), the Employment and Social Innovation Programme (EaSI) and the EU Health Programme. The new fund will concentrate its investment in three main areas: education, employment and social inclusion. At the European Parliament, the file was assigned to the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), which adopted its report on 3 December, 2018. On 16 January 2019, the committee’s amendments to increase the funding and make youth and children the main beneficiaries were approved by plenary. No trilogue meetings have taken place, and so Parliament is now due to conclude the first reading during the April I plenary session.


European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) 2021–2027
Committee responsible: Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) COM(2018) 0382 of 30.5.2018
Rapporteur: Verónica Lope Fontagné (EPP, Spain) 2018/0206 (COD)
Shadow rapporteurs: Brando Benifei (S&D, Italy)

Ulrike Trebesius (ECR, Germany)

Jasenko Selimovic, (ALDE, Sweden)

Gabriele Zimmer (GUE/NGL, Germany)

Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA, Germany)

Laura Agea (EFDD, Italy)

Mara Bizzotto (ENF, Italy)

Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Final first-reading vote in plenary
timeline-10 steps-voted in plenary


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