On 30 October 2014, the Commission adopted the Partnership Agreement with Spain, paving the way for more than €7.5 billion (current prices) in European Social Fund (ESF) funding in the next seven years.
The Partnership Agreement sets down the strategy for the optimal use of European Structural and Investment Funds in the country's regions, cities and people. It outlines the way in which the financial means of these funds will be used to help Spain achieve its smart, sustainable and inclusive growth targets.
The EU investments will help tackle unemployment and boost competitiveness and economic growth through support to innovation, training and education in cities, towns and rural areas. They will also promote entrepreneurship, fight social exclusion and help to develop an environmentally friendly and resource-efficient economy.
Helping people enter the labour market will be a top priority in Spain and a strong emphasis is placed on combating youth unemployment: almost €2,300 million will be invested in young people, and will support the implementation of the Youth Guarantee.
The ESF will finance initiatives to improve education and training systems, support measures to combat early school leaving and ensure young people get the right skills that increase their chances on the job market. Vocational education is another key area for investment. ESF investments in the area of education and training will also be beneficial to innovation and competitiveness of enterprises.
Furthermore, the ESF will continue to finance projects that help people in difficulty and those from disadvantaged groups to have the same opportunities as others to integrate into society. Almost €2,000 million will be invested in this area.
Expected results include:
The ESF share of the Structural Funds budget is 28.1% or €7.59 billion and is above the required minimum share of 27.7%. The funds will be allocated to these priorities:
|Promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting labour mobility||€ 3 595 172 476|
|Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination||€ 1 944 742 719|
|Investing in education, training and vocational training for skills and lifelong learning||€ 1 879 757 967|
|Technical assistance||€ 169 895 975|
|Total||€ 7 589 569 137|
In addition, Spain benefits from an allocation of € 943.5 million from the Youth Employment Initiative. This new instrument is dedicated to confront the high youth unemployment rates across Europe.
The Commission and Spain are currently negotiating the four national ESF Operational Programmes (OP) addressing specifically Employment, Training and Education; Youth Employment; Social Inclusion and Technical Assistance as well as the 19 regional OPs. These will be breaking down the objectives of the Partnership Agreement into investment priorities and concrete actions and will allow selecting, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the individual projects according to the priorities and targets agreed with the Commission.