European Social Fund
The European Social Fund (ESF) is the oldest of four European
Structural Funds that provide grants to support economic development within the European Union. It was created by the Treaty of Romein 1957and became operational in 1960.
Its purpose is to increase employment, especially through funding vocational training. Over the period
2007to 2013, the intention is to use the ESF to support the Lisbon Strategy.
Following a review in the early
1980s, the ESF concentrated on combating youth unemployment. Later, a stronger focus was given to employment development in regions with low incomes and weak economies.
The ESF also funds the
EQUAL Community Initiative.
The ESF provides grants for running costs, and there are detailed regulations about what expenditure may be used to claim grant. Unlike the
European Regional Development Fund(ERDF), it does not provide capital grants for infrastructure. If there is a need for a new vocational training centre, the ERDF would be able to provide a capital grant to assist with construction costs and the ESF could provide a grant towards the running costs.
The programme period 2007-2013 will now be coming into use. The new Convergence/Cohesion programme will constitute about 1/3 of the EU budget. Priority will be given to less developed nations. The priority will be given to work which will enhance economic growth in the region however there is a strong environmental and biodiversity element within the funding stream.
* Donal McElwee: " [http://stuwww.uvt.nl/tflr/Articles/Donal%20McElwee.PDF The European Social Fund: Monitoring and Compliance in the UK] ", Tilburg Foreign Law Review 10 (2002) pp 218-236.
* [http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/esf2000/index_en.html Detailed information about the European Social Fund from the European Commission]
* [http://www.welcomeurope.com News on European Funds such as European Social Fund]
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