EU Cohesion Policy supports the social inclusion of people with disabilities, younger and older workers, low-skilled workers, migrants and ethnic minorities such as the Roma, people who live in deprived areas, and women in the labour market. It supports the Europe 2020 Strategy, which aims to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty.
Social inclusion is one of the eleven priorities for Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020 ("thematic objective 9").
The Social Investment Package, adopted in 2013, outlines the reforms needed in Member States to secure more adequate and sustainable social policies through investing in people's skills and capabilities. It also delivers some key messages that should be taken into account when modernising social policies and adjusting them to the new challenges, including through European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds.
The integrated use of ESI Funds is particularly important in addressing the territorial dimension of poverty. ESI Funds may not be used for actions contributing to any form of segregation and discrimination. The integration of marginalised communities requires coherent and multi-dimensional approaches supported from the various ESI Funds, complementing national resources and implemented coherently with reforms of social protection systems.
A multi-dimensional integrated approach, combining actions from various ESI Funds, is particularly relevant for the Roma community, whose effective integration requires investments in employment, education, healthcare, housing and social integration.
In deprived urban areas, the physical and economic regeneration activities supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) should go hand in hand with European Social Fund (ESF) actions aimed at promoting the social inclusion of marginalised groups.
In 2014-2020, the ESF will be the main Cohesion Policy fund supporting social inclusion. In addition to the measures financed by the ESF, the ERDF supports the integration and participation of disadvantaged groups through various measures such as: