The Common Framework’s primary focus is to bring together project promoters from different Member States and facilitate cooperation between them within transnational projects. It also serves as a forum for discussing issues relevant to the ESF between stakeholders in the different countries.
A set of common themes has been agreed to guide work within the Common framework:
For each of these themes the Commission has set up a Thematic Network
including representatives from the bodies managing the ESF Operational Programmes
, policy experts, stakeholders, academics and social partners.
These Thematic Networks continue the activities of the Learning Networks
established in the 2007-2013 period.
Member States are encouraged to ensure that the knowledge created within the Thematic Networks is disseminated through new or existing national networks.
Coordinated calls for proposals
These constitute the core of the common framework, and aim to create synergies and effective partnerships among the Member States around the common themes. These calls enable projects in each participating country to apply for ESF support for work that includes a transnational component.
Two coordinated calls for proposals have taken place over the programming period, in 2016 and 2018, each covering most of the Common Themes. These coordinated calls comprise individual national and/or regional level calls launched by Managing Authorities (or Intermediate Bodies on their behalf) participating in the Common Framework, following a timetable and terms of reference agreed at EU level. It is part of the role of the thematic networks to ensure coordination between the different authorities in charge of these calls for proposals. In February 2017, an Impact Task Force started operating in order to enhance the capacity of Member States to launch transnational calls and mainstream the impact of transnational activities.
Tools to support transnational cooperation
A set of tools has been put in place to support transnational cooperation in the ESF, whether within the common framework or more broadly:
Online information and networking
The ESF Transnational Platform website
is a one-stop shop for anyone interested in transnational cooperation in the ESF. It disseminates news relevant to transnational co-operation in the ESF, and supports all transnational calls for proposals as well as the nine Thematic Networks.
The website contains a public partner search database
. Interested project promoters can share their project ideas and search for projects from other countries that they could cooperate with. Partners sign a Transnational Cooperation Agreement, which is agreed by the ESF authority in each of their Member States.
In 2018, the European partner search database reached over 500 organisations which registered more than 400 projects.
A quarterly newsletter
is published, as well as periodic technical dossiers which help to improve the impact of ESF projects.
A panel of stakeholders, primarily European-level NGOs and social partners, is convened periodically to discuss issues that arise in the implementation of the ESF.
Information line - ESF TNC infoline
An information service is available for all transnational cooperation stakeholders, which can include Managing Authorities, social partners, NGOs, academia etc.:
+32 2 736 1890
ESF Transnational Platform,
AEIDL, Chaussée St-Pierre 260,