At the informal ministerial meeting of Ministers responsible for the Cohesion policy, in Poznan Commissioner László Andor stressed the importance of "achieving the Europe 2020 growth targets by concentrating on key investment priorities and with a strong inclusive dimension". The two-day meeting was an opportunity to present the Commission proposal for the new European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 and its relation to the other structural funds.
The Commission's proposal for the next generation of ESF programmes focuses on four thematic objectives: employment, education, inclusion and administration. These will be supported by specific investment priorities and flagship initiatives, in particular the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion , An Agenda for New Skills and Jobs and Youth on the Move .
"Combating youth unemployment and promoting the integration of marginalised communities, such as the Roma are top priorities", the Commissioner added. Around 13% of ESF funding is currently allocated to actions promoting social inclusion. The proposal foresees an increase to 20% in each Member State.
Mr Andor also pointed out the need to increase the impact of EU funding through a more strategic approach: "The different structural funds need to work hand in hand. Bringing the five funds together under a common regulation is a first step". The Commissioner explained that "better coordination, clear conditions for distribution and simplification of procedures are key to improve effectiveness".
Integrated approach to development
The first day of the informal ministerial meeting was dedicated to a conference on 'an integrated approach to development'. Commissioner Andor agreed that major social issues call for an integrated approach and added: "Member States should determine the level of integration in line with their specific territorial issues and institutional arrangements".