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European Social Fund (ESF)
Established in 1958, the ESF is one of the EU's main financial instruments for supporting national policies that seek to increase employment and employment opportunities, improve quality and productivity at work, and reduce social exclusion and regional employment disparities.
For the 2007-13 period, key areas of action for the ESF include the adaptability of workers and enterprises, access to employment and participation in the labour market, social inclusion of disadvantaged people, combating all forms of discrimination, and creating partnerships to manage reforms in employment. Over the same period, the budget for the ESF will be worth some €75 billion.
ESF funding is distributed under two EU Regional Policy objectives for 2007-13: 'Convergence' and 'Regional Competitiveness and Employment'.