The ESF in brief
- The European Social Fund, ESF, was founded in 1957 in the Treaty of Rome.
- The ESF is one of the EU's Structural Funds, and the most important tool for creating more and better jobs in Europe.
- During the 2007-2013 period, the ESF will invest approximately €75 billion around the European Union. This will be supplemented by about €50 billion of national public funding. The Commission estimates that more than 70 million people will benefit from these measures.
What is the total budget of the ESF?
The ESF budget for the 2007-2013 period amounts to some €75 billion, more than €10 billion per year. National public and private co-funding bring the total resources available for ESF supported measures to more than €117 billion.
For more information on the ESF budget, check the ESF spending section
In what areas is the ESF active?
The ESF supports measures such as:
- lifelong learning and training of workers;
- work organisation;
- support for employees in the context of restructuring;
- employment services
- integration of disadvantaged people in the labour market
- reforms in education and training systems;
- networking of social partners and NGOs
- training in public administrations and services
To learn more about ESF priorities search the priorities database.
How do I find documentation on the ESF?
The library section of this website includes PDF versions of all our publications.
Which types of projects does the ESF co-finance?
Who benefits from the ESF?
Private businesses, public agencies and non-profit organisations may all apply. It is not possible to apply as an individual. An organization or a company needs to submit an application.
Information about who to contact to learn how to apply is available at http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/esf/members/index_en.htm.
A list of ESF beneficiaries is published by each Member State.
What is a Managing Authority?
ESF Managing authorities have national and regional offices. They disseminate information about the ESF, receive and assess applications. They are also responsible for distribution of the funding and the monitoring of approved projects.
Can a project cooperate with other Member States?
What is a Monitoring Committee?
Monitoring committees oversee the implementation of ESF programmes. They consist of representatives from public authorities, social partners, NGOs, the education system and the Commission.
How do I get funding?
The ESF is managed at national and/or regional level: to find out how to benefit from ESF support please contact the responsible ESF managing authority in your country or region.
Contact details can be found in the Member States section of this website.
Does the ESF provide financial support to students?
An ESF Operational Programme having education as a priority can finance student grants.
Search the priorities database for more information on Promoting education with ESF
Please check also the website of the Erasmus programme which enables students to study and work abroad each year: http://ec.europa.eu/education
One of our employees will participate in a training. Which support can we – as employer - receive from the ESF and under which conditions?
In principle the ESF can support the training of employees. The ESF however is managed at national and/or regional level: to find out whether you are eligible for ESF support in your country please contact the responsible ESF managing authority whose contact details can be found in the Member States section of this website.
We wish to set up a training centre. Can the ESF help us?
In principle the ESF can support training centres.
The ESF however is managed at national and/or regional level: to find out whether you are eligible for ESF support in your country please contact the responsible ESF managing authority whose contact details can be found in the Member States section of this website.
Can the ESF support a project in Africa?
Our organisation is co-financed by the ESF, which logo can we use for our documentation?
The ESF does not have a logo as such. What is most commonly used is the European flag with the text “European Social Fund” below.