In June 2021, the European Parliament authorized the new Social Fund Plus program, which will aid youth and those at high risk of living in poverty. The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) combines the former European Social Fund, the Youth Employment Initiative, the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived and the E.U. Program for Employment and Social Innovation.
The ESF+ will be the primary tool to improve the future of Europe. This means addressing all consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, improving employee incomes, strengthening social welfare programs and creating a qualified and adaptable workforce.
Funds and Support
The European Social Fund Plus has a budget of approximately €88 billion to spend between 2021 and 2027. The finances will go to areas of key priority, including:
- Employment opportunities for youth.
- Affordable education, healthcare and housing for children.
- Recovery of socioeconomic consequences caused by COVID-19.
- Promote social inclusion to marginalized groups.
- A guarantee that E.U.-funded initiatives will take place.
Empowering Youth and the Most Deprived
The European Parliament increased funds to ensure workforce participation for young people and to provide alleviation of child poverty, targeting two categories of citizens who the COVID-19 pandemic extremely affected. Member states will commit around 12.5% of their ESF+ budgets to assist youth by developing their skills and finding proper employment. Member states will also allocate funds to support children in jeopardy of poverty and social exclusion by ensuring fair access to daycare, schooling, health services and safe housing for all children. Every member state must contribute to the fight against child poverty.
Along with supporting disadvantaged youth, member states will invest a minimum of 25% of their resources to initiatives promoting equal rights for marginalized groups. This will aid in lowering workforce obstacles, combating social injustices and addressing health disparities.
In addition to the quarter of resources spent on fighting discrimination, member states will contribute at least 3% of the finances to necessities including water, food, clothing and shelter. This will counter global poverty that inherently leads to social isolation.
Main Goals of the ESF+
Overall, the European Parliament has created a budget to help the world’s poor, which gives the population a fighting chance to secure proper employment, adequate education and housing and social equality. Outlined are the main goals of the European Social Fund Plus:
- Safeguard those who are most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.
- Tackle poverty and inequality through youth empowerment.
- Create policies that invest in individuals and communities through social values.
- Illustrate to the world how nations can positively impact the lives of their citizens.
The budget that the European Parliament has created will be appropriate for present circumstances and future uncertainties. Through the European Social Fund Plus, citizens will be able to reshape a more diverse, inclusive and resilient European Union.
– Anna Lovelace