European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) 2021–2027  
2018/0206(COD) - 12/12/2018  

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs adopted the report by Verónica LOPE FONTAGNÉ (EPP, ES) on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, exercising its prerogative as an associated committee in accordance with Article 54 of the Rules of Procedure, also gave its opinion on the report.

The committee recommended that the European Parliament's position adopted at first reading under the ordinary legislative procedure should amend the Commission's proposal as follows.

Subject matter

This Regulation establishes the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). ESF+ consists of three strands: the strand under shared management, the Employment and Social Innovation strand and the Health strand. It lays down the objectives of the ESF+, the budget for the period 2021-2027, the methods of implementation, the forms of Union funding and the rules for providing such funding, complementing the general rules applicable to ESF+ under the Common Provisions Regulation.

General objectives

The ESF+ shall:

- support Member States, at national, regional and local level, and the Union to achieve inclusive societies, high levels of quality employment, job creation, quality and inclusive education and training, equal opportunities, eradicating poverty, including child poverty, social inclusion and integration, social cohesion, social protection and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the future world of work;

- support, complement and add value to the policies of the Member States to ensure equal opportunities, equal access to the labour market, lifelong learning, high quality working conditions, social protection, integration and inclusion, eradicating poverty, including child poverty, investment in children and young people, non-discrimination, gender equality, access to basic services and a high level of human health protection.

Specific objectives

It aims to:

- support the following specific objectives in the policy areas of employment, education, mobility, social inclusion, poverty eradication and health;

- improve access to quality employment and activation measures of all jobseekers, in particular specific measures for young people, especially though the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, long-term unemployed, economically inactive people and disadvantaged groups;

- promote women’s labour market participation and career progression, promote the principle of equal pay for equal work, a better work/life balance, with a special focus on single parents, including access to affordable, inclusive and quality childcare, early childhood education, eldercare, and other care services and support;

- promote a healthy and well–adapted working environment;

- fight discrimination against and promoting the socio-economic integration of marginalised communities such as Roma;

- modernise social security institutions, public employment services, social protection and social inclusion systems;

- improve accessibility including for persons with disabilities, effectiveness and resilience of healthcare systems and long-term care services.


The total financial envelope for the ESF+ for the period 2021-2027 shall be EUR 106 781 000 000 in 2018 prices. The part of the financial envelope for the ESF+ strand under shared management under the Investment for Jobs and Growth goal shall be:

- EUR 105 686 000 000 of which EUR 200 000 000 shall be allocated for transnational cooperation supporting innovative solutions;

- EUR 5 900 000 000 shall be allocated for measures falling under the European Child Guarantee;

- EUR 400 000 000 as additional funding to the outermost regions and the NUTS level 2 regions.

The financial envelope for the Employment and Social Innovation strand and the Health strand for the period 2021-2027 shall be EUR 1 095 000 000. The indicative distribution of this shall be:

- EUR 675 000 000 for the implementation of the Employment and Social Innovation strand;

- EUR 420 000 000 for the implementation of the Health strand.

Member States shall allocate at least 27% of their ESF+ resources under shared management to specific objectives in the field of social inclusion and at least 3% of their resources to the specific objective of social inclusion of the most deprived and/or material deprivation.

Member States having a rate of young people aged 15 to 29 not in employment, education or training (NEET) is above the Union average in 2019 or where the NEET rate is above 15 % on the basis of Eurostat data, shall allocate at least 15 % of their ESF+ resources under shared management for the years 2021 to 2025 in the programming period to targeted actions and structural reforms to promote youth employment.


Member States and the Commission, shall foster synergies and ensure coordination, complementarity and coherence between the ESF+ and other Union funds, programmes and instruments such as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, InvestEU, Creative Europe, Erasmus, the Asylum and Migration Fund, the post-2020 EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies and the Reform Support Programme, both in the planning phase and during implementation.

Reporting and evaluation

The Commission shall draw up an initial qualitative and quantitative monitoring report covering the first year, followed by three reports covering consecutive two-year periods and shall submit those reports to the European Parliament and the Council.

The reports shall include the results of the strands and the extent to which the principles of equality between women and men and gender mainstreaming have been applied, as well as how anti-discrimination considerations, including accessibility issues, have been addressed through their activities. The reports shall be made available to the public in order to enhance the transparency of the strands.

By 31 December 2024, the Commission shall carry out a mid-term evaluation of the strands. The results of that mid-term evaluation shall be presented to the European Parliament and to the Council.