The European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) with a proposed budget of €815 million for the 2014-20 period.
EaSI will support Member States efforts in the design and implementation of employment and social reforms at European, national as well as regional and local levels by means of policy coordination, the identification, analysis and sharing of best practices.
EaSI integrates and extends the coverage of three existing programmes:
- Progress (Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity),
- EURES (European Employment Services)
- and the European Progress Microfinance Facility,
which will be allocated respectively 61%, 18% and 21% of the budget.
Together with the European Social Fund, the Fund for the European Aid for the most Deprived and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, EaSI forms the fourth pillar of the EU Initiative for Employment and Social Inclusion 2014-2020.
The political agreement will follow the ordinary procedure and should be endorsed by the European Parliament and Council before the end of 2013 to allow the launching of EaSI in January 2014.
With the new proposal, the overall EURES system will be strengthened beyond 2013:
- the EURES core activities at cross-border level will be financed under the EaSI Programme, while the national EURES activities can be financed under the European Social Fund in order to support workers' mobility and help companies recruit abroad
- at EU level, the EURES Portal will offer modernised self-service tools for jobseekers and employers. EURES will be used to create and develop new targeted mobility schemes. It will notably allow for the development of Your First EURES Job scheme.
The overall EURES budget is expected to remain the same, at around €20 million per year, with around one third of the budget for modernising the EURES Portal and one third for the development of the targeted mobility schemes.
Microfinance facility and Social Entrepreneurship
The new programme will:
- extend the support given to microcredit providers under the current European Progress Microfinance Facility (launched in 2010)
- provide funding for capacity-building of microfinance institutions
- support the development of the social investment market and facilitate access to finance for social enterprises.
The total proposed budget for the microfinance and social entrepreneurship axis is around €171.15 million for the period 2014-2020. Access to microfinance would receive €77.75 million, that could result in €400 to 450 million of microloans. Institutional capacity building would receive almost €8 million and €85 million would be dedicated to support social entrepreneurship.
For the period 2014-2020, the 'Progress' element of EaSI will continue its current activities (analysis, mutual learning and grants) and will have a specific budget for social innovation and social policy experimentation.
The total proposed budget for 'Progress' is around €500 million for the period 2014-2020.