The European Social Fund (ESF) is a major source of funding for cities in areas of labour market integration, skills provision and active inclusion. Some cities have benefitted from ESF for over 50 years while others for less than a decade. In both cases the ESF has proven an added value to cities, helping them improve the lives of people in urban areas and strengthen social cohesion in their cities and beyond.
Some of the tangible results that ESF brought in cities are better access to jobs, schools, training, housing and social care for vulnerable groups. Thanks to support from ESF, many cities across Europe could try out new and innovative approaches, reaching out to those most in need and offering them targeted support. Some of the social innovations that ESF enabled at local level were later mainstreamed in the regular service provision of cities. However, there are many remaining obstacles for cities to access and use ESF funding especially given the complexity of rules and procedures as well as the mismatch between the ESF programme priorities and the locally-identified needs.
These are some of the key findings from the new EUROCITIES technical report, which is based on a survey of ESF practices of 32 cities from 13 EU member states. The survey collected evidence on the implementation of ESF in cities between 2014-2017 directly from city authorities. The responses fed into a comparative analysis to identify trends across cities and map good practices.
Read the report to find out more about: