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ESF - European Social Fund

Investing in people

The ESF is Europe’s main instrument for supporting jobs, helping people get better jobs and ensuring fairer job opportunities for all EU citizens. It works by investing in Europe’s human capital – its workers, its young people and all those seeking a job.

Every year, the ESF helps around 15 million citizens to get a job or to improve their skills to do so in the future.

The ESF plays an important role in:

  • meeting Europe’s commitment to creating more and better jobs and a socially inclusive society, which is at the core of the Europe 2020 strategy;
  • mitigating the consequences of the economic crisis – especially the rise in unemployment and poverty levels.

2014-2020: funding and objectives

The ESF will provide €80 billion (in current prices) in funding over 2014-2020 to:

  • train people and help them get into work,
  • promote social inclusion,
  • improve education and training,
  • improve the quality of public administration and governance.

More about the ESF in 2014-2020

Who does what?

The ESF strategy and budget are negotiated and decided on jointly by EU governments, the European Parliament and the Commission.

Its 7-year operational programmes are planned by governments and the European Commission.

Funding is given to a wide range of organisations – public and private – which provide people with practical help to find a job, or stay in their job.

More about the ESF

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