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The ESF in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is investing ESF funds in programmes to develop high-quality skills in its workforce, while ensuring disadvantaged people get the same opportunities as others.

Across Europe and in Bulgaria the ESF is supporting the labour market, helping people get better jobs and ensuring fairer living standards and more employment opportunities for all EU citizens. It is doing this by investing in Europe’s human capital – its workers, its young people, disadvantaged groups and all those seeking a job. Tens of thousands of ESF projects are active in Europe’s cities, towns, rural communities and neighbourhoods. They are opening doors to better skills, work, qualifications and a more inclusive society for all Europeans.


Education and science are a major priority for ESF investments in Bulgaria in combination with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The European funds are helping support over 1500 researchers in new centres of excellence for high-quality research and innovation in the areas defined in the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation.

Schoolchildren and students are benefiting from innovative teaching methods in order to improve their skills and qualifications – thus supporting the modernisation of Bulgaria’s economy. The ESF is also boosting the quality of vocational and lifelong learning opportunities, for example through improvements to teacher’s skills and careers. Children at risk of social exclusion – such as those belonging to marginalised groups or having special educational needs ­– are benefiting from dedicated funding for projects to give them the same skills and opportunities as others.

Training for skills

Better access to jobs and training is among the objectives of measures underway to help the unemployed and young jobseekers. The ESF is promoting lifelong learning initiatives for workers of all ages, both to improve employability and help them adapt to changes in the labour market – over 160 000 people will have benefited by 2020. Entrepreneurship and self-employment are getting support, while investments are underway in new public employment services.

Inclusive services

The ESF is investing in social inclusion projects targeting groups such as Bulgaria’s youth and older people, those with disabilities and minorities such as the Roma. Suitable training and support facilities are helping them get the skills and qualifications needed to integrate better. Other measures are promoting social enterprise as a means to employment, as well as better access to health and social services for several thousand children.

Good governance

The ESF is also investing in the quality of public administration and the transparency of the judiciary in Bulgaria. The objective is to strengthen the administrative capacity of public institutions, promote e-government, and to improve the quality of services and the business environment.