Employment: 'New-Look' European Social Fund Approved by Parliament

Article excerpt

MEPs on the Committee of Employment and Social Affairs, which had adopted the Peneda report on June 15, in general supported the Commission's new ESF proposal. But they have sought to strengthen some aspects of it such as social inclusion, non-discrimination and gender equality. In addition, they added amendments calling for more trans-national cooperation to be promoted as well as 'innovative actions'. They have also suggested that the ESF should support information and awareness-raising measures targeting the public with the aim of fighting discrimination and promoting equal treatment. MEPs have also pushed for member states to become more pro-active about informing citizens and all relevant stakeholders about activities eligible for financing by the ESF. All amendments put forward by the committee were adopted in plenary, and only five additional ones were not accepted, according to a Parliament spokeswoman.

The ESF links funding to measures which aim to prevent and combat unemployment, develop human resources and foster social integration in the labour market, in the context of the European Employment Strategy (EES). The 2007-2013 ESF, proposed by the Commission in July 2004 to replace the existing 2000-2006 Fund, covers two of the three Objectives for cohesion funding in the EU's financial framework.

The Commission's proposal foresees that ESF action may differ depending on whether they relate to the 'Convergence' or the 'Regional Competitiveness and Employment' Objective. …