GR | EN
The ESF is the main financial instrument through which the European Union (EU) invests in people. Through ESF financing, actions are implemented aiming at creating more and better jobs, improving quality and productivity at the workplace, enhancing the social inclusion of disadvantaged people, fighting all forms of discrimination in the labour market, supporting the structural capabilities and effectiveness of public administration, and reinforcing the human capital at large, implementing reforms at the systems of education, training and lifelong learning.
The European Social Fund (ESF) together with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund (CF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), are the "European Structural and Investment Funds' (ESIF) for the 2014-2020 period.
The common goal of ESIF is to contribute to the implementation of the EU strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (Europe 2020 Strategy).
The PA (Partnership Agreement for the Development Framework / called ESPA in greek language) is the main development programme of Greece for the 2014-2020 period, which succeeded the NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) applied in the 2007-2013 period. Its implementation is co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).
The PA 2014-2020 focuses on: Enhancing the competitiveness and extroversion of enterprises with emphasis on innovation, investing in human capital, protecting the environment, developing sustainable infrastructure, upgrading the public administration. It consists of 20 Operational Programmes, of which 7 are Sectoral and 13 Regional.
ESF co-finances projects in 17 OPs (7 Sectoral OPs and all Regional OPs).
The ESF co-finances a wide range of projects that vary in objectives and duration and address many target groups. Such projects are, for example: Training, internship and certification programmes for unemployed people, social work, programmes for reconciling work and family life, entrepreneurship support schemes, social economy support actions, programmes for combating school leakage and improving education at all levels, projects for linking education to the labour market, actions for de-institutionalization and primary health care, social centers and other actions to support disadvantaged and poor people, modernization of public administration, combating bureaucracy, etc.
It is a European Union Initiative addressed to young people aged 15-29 who are out of education, employment or training (NEETs). The objective of YEI is to combat youth unemployment across the Union, and in this context, actions related to internship, apprenticeship, mobility and youth entrepreneurship are being implemented. The actions of YEI are also funded by the ESF.
The financial contribution of the ESF (as well as of all ESIF) co-exists with national public funding. In this sense, ESF co-financed is any project / programme / action implemented with funds coming from the ESF and the Greek State. The co-financing percentage is determined by the European Commission and is calculated on the basis of a series of socioeconomic criteria.
The ESF financial contribution for the programming period of the PA 2014-2020 amounts to approximately EUR 3.8 billion. The total public expenditure, that is the sum of national funding and EU contribution (ESF), exceeds € 4.8 billion and accounts for almost 20% of the total PA budget.
Τhis amount is allocated:
- 80% in 4 Sectoral Operational Programmes:
- 20% in 13 Regional Operational Programmes
The resources of ESF, during the 2014-2020 period, have been allocated to 17 Operational Programmes (4 Sectoral and 13 Regional OPs). The management of each OP is exercised by a Special Service (Managing Authority).
Actions co-funded by the ESF are implemented through the Operational Programmes.
Each Operational Programme plans and specifies the actions to be implemented, in line with the strategies, investment priorities and specific objectives that have been agreed between Greece and EU.
The implementation of actions is undertaken by public or private bodies, that have been appointed as “beneficiaries”. Such bodies suggestively are: the Greek Manpower Employment Organization (OAED), Municipalities, NGOs, social partners, academic institutions, social enterprises, etc.
Each Managing Authority plans the implementation of an action (e.g. training for the unemployed) and invites beneficiary bodies, through a public call, to submit their proposals. Upon examining these proposals, the Managing Authority approves the most suitable among them for financing and implementation.
The beneficiary body then undertakes the implementation of the approved actions and, for this purpose, informs the public, usually through an announcement on its website or in the media.
The citizens, firms or bodies who are interested in participating in those projects, may declare so, according to the terms of the announcement.
All citizens without discrimination, can benefit through the ESF interventions. However, considering its targets, priority is given to the most vulnerable groups of the population, such as people facing difficulties in entering the labour market (unemployed or long-term unemployed), young people aged 15-29 not in education, employment or training (NEETS), students at risk of early school leaving, women, immigrants, minorities, the disabled and other disadvantaged people.
The citizens benefit through participating in ESF actions, for example, by being supported for finding jobs, developing entrepreneurial action, improving social inclusion, completing studies, acquiring new skills, etc. Firms, organisations and public bodies can also benefit, for example, by training their personnel or applying new forms of business management.
Overall, investing in the human capital of the country, ESF makes an important contribution in social prosperity, which constitutes a valuable asset for every country and every citizen.