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Summaries of EU Legislation

European Social Fund

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European Social Fund

 

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EU) 1304/2013 — the European Social Fund

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?

  • It sets down principles, rules and standards for the implementation of the European Social Fund (ESF).
  • In 2014-2020, the ESF covers 4 main areas of investment:

KEY POINTS

Overall aims

The ESF invests in people with the aim of improving employment and education opportunities across the EU. Over the 2014-2020 period, it aims to pay particular attention to vulnerable groups, including youth. The regulation describes the scope of the ESF and its relationship with the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI).

Key themes

The ESF focuses on a number of key themes including:

Eligible regions

All EU countries are eligible for funding from the ESF. A wide range of organisations, from both the public and private sectors, can apply through the EU countries.

Budget priorities

For the first time, a minimum share has been introduced for the ESF, set at 23.1% of cohesion policy which corresponds to more than €80 billion earmarked for ESF programming during the 2014-2020 programming period.

In each EU country, at least 20% of the ESF must be earmarked for social inclusion and combating poverty. This means helping vulnerable people and disadvantaged groups to get the skills and jobs they need to integrate in the labour market.

The ESF must provide targeted help for young people by topping up the YEI with at least €3.2 billion. This initiative must exclusively support young people not in employment, education or training in regions experiencing youth unemployment rates above 25%.

In light of the need to address the persistently high levels of youth unemployment in the EU, Regulation (EU) 2015/779 amends Regulation (EU) No 1304/2013. It increases the level of the initial pre-financing paid to operational programmes supported by the YEI in 2015 from 1% to 30%.

Focus on results

The programmes must be results-oriented and based on the additionality principle*. The concentration mechanism (i.e. very focused measures on a given target group) is important in order to make a real impact on the ground.

Implementation

Partnership Agreements and operational programmes, agreed between the EU countries and the European Commission, set the framework for strategic investments at national and regional level.

Public Private Partnerships

Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 stipulates that in relation to a Public Private Partnership (‘PPP’) operation a beneficiary may be a body governed by private law of an EU country (‘private partner’). The private partner (selected to implement the operation) may be replaced as beneficiary during implementation — where this is required — under the terms and conditions of the PPP or of the underlying financing agreement between the private partner and the financial institution co-financing the operation.

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/1076 lays down additional rules on the replacement of the beneficiary and on the related responsibilities. In the case of the replacement of a beneficiary in a PPP operation funded by European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs), it is necessary to ensure that after the replacement, the new partner or body provides at least the same service and with the same minimum quality standards, which was required by the initial PPP contract. This regulation also sets out procedures with regard to proposals to replace the private partner and confirmation of the private partner, as well as minimum requirements to be included in PPP agreements funded by ESIFs.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It has applied since 21 December 2013.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

KEY TERMS

Additionality principle: ESF funding may not replace national spending by an EU country.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Regulation (EU) 1304/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Social Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1081/2006 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, pp. 470-486)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 1304/2013 have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/1076 of 28 April 2015 laying down, pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, additional rules on the replacement of a beneficiary and on the related responsibilities, and minimum requirements to be included in Public Private Partnership agreements funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds (OJ L 175, 4.7.2015, pp. 1-3)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 288/2014 of 25 February 2014 laying down rules pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund with regard to the model for operational programmes under the Investment for growth and jobs goal and pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on specific provisions for the support from the European Regional Development Fund to the European territorial cooperation goal with regard to the model for cooperation programmes under the European territorial cooperation goal (OJ L 87, 22.3.2014, pp. 1-48)

Commission Implementing Decision 2014/99/EU of 18 February 2014 setting out the list of regions eligible for funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund and of Member States eligible for funding from the Cohesion Fund for the period 2014-2020 (OJ L 50, 20.2.2014, pp. 22-34)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, pp. 320-469)

See consolidated version.

last update 08.05.2018

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