Magazine article European Social Policy

Employment : Esf: Germany and UK against Proposed End of Co-Financing

Magazine article European Social Policy

Employment : Esf: Germany and UK against Proposed End of Co-Financing

Article excerpt

Heads of state and government were set to disagree on 18 June on the proposed end to co-financing of the European Social Fund (ESF). In the run up to the European Council, the discussions in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) already showed a clash between the net contributors of the ESF and the member states who have been hit the hardest by the financial crisis. Latvia, Slovakia and Hungary (hit hard) claim that ending the co-financing of ESF projects for 2009-1010, is "crucial" for them to overcome the crisis.

Some countries including Belgium and Spain are willing to sympathise with these countries, whereas other countries such as Sweden, Germany, the UK and Denmark (net-contributors) are showing less willingness to do so. They fear loss of quality and responsibility of ESF projects if co-financing disappears. They also argue that fewer projects could be financed by the fund. Only seven countries (Latvia, Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Germany, the UK and Denmark) explicitly expressed their opinion during Coreper, so it is possible that more member states disagree. The Netherlands for instance has said to be sceptical.

During the Social Council on 9 June, the EU commissioner for employment, Vladimir Spidla, confirmed that some member states were critical of the Commission's proposal to lift the co-financing for the ESF and to make available 19 billion of planned ESF expenditure to support those hit by the economic crisis. He said some of the smaller member states had problems paying their contributions, which is "unacceptable". …

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