Regulation (EU) 2021/1057 establishing the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)

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Series Details L 231, Pages 21-59
Publication Date 30/06/2021
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Regulation (EU) 2021/1057 - formally adopted by the European Union on 24 June 2021 - establishing the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) programme for the period 2021-2027.

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This programme aims to reflect calls to strengthen the European Union's social dimension. It is intended to be the main instrument to invest in people and to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). The original draft law was tabled by the European Commission on 30 My 2018 in the framework of the discussions concerning the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027. It proposed to set up the new programme by merging the European Social Fund (ESF), the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived (FEAD), the Employment and Social Innovation Programme (EaSI) and the EU Health Programme. The plenary of the European Parliament adopted a negotiating position on 16 January 2019.

An amended proposal was tabled on 28 May 2020 to account for the effects of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in the context of the Recovery Plan for Europe. This event inflicted a shock to the EU economy and the proposed programme was seen as an important tool in supporting socioeconomic recovery in the aftermath of the crisis. The amended draft law did not foresee the merging of the Health Programme into the ESF Plus, standing instead as a separate scheme. A number of temporary measures for the use of the ESF Plus were included in response to exceptional and unusual circumstances. The programme was also foreseen as complementary to the activity developed by the SURE programme. This Regulation repeals Regulation (EU) No 1296/2013.

An informal agreement between the co-legislators on a compromise text concerning this draft law was reached on 28 January 2021. This was endorsed by the Council of the European Union on 27 May, followed by the European Parliament on 8 June. The Act was formally signed by the co-legislators on 24 June 2021 and published in the Official Journal on 30 June 2021.

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Commentary and Analysis
EurActiv: Opinion, 27/06/2018: An EU budget to protect people in poverty or our defence and security industries?
EPRS: Briefing, October 2018: European Social Fund Plus and European Globalisation Adjustment Fund - Initial Appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment
EPRS: Briefing, March 2019: European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) 2021-2027
Eurochild: News, 05/02/2021: ESF+ will now prioritise investing in children
Euronews: Next, 05/05/2021: What is the EU's plan for employment post-pandemic?
EU Funding Mag: Blog, 20/05/2021: The new European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)
EPRS: At a Glance, June 2021: European Social Fund Plus (2021-2027)
EDF-FEPH: Publications, 14/06/2021: European Social Fund Plus 2021-2027: Analysis of the final agreement

EurActiv, 31/05/2018: Commission defends Cohesion-European Semester link, with suspended payments option
Times of Malta, 29/01/2021: Deal reached on €90 billion European Social Fund Plus
Times of Malta, 09/06/2021: European Parliament approves €90 billion European Social Fund Plus
Malta Today, 09/06/2021: €90 billion in EU funds ready for use with green light for Casa’s ESF

EUR-LEX: COM(2018)382: Proposal for Regulation on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)
EUR-LEX: SWD(2018)289: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Impact Assessment
EUR-LEX: COM(2020)447: Amended Proposal for a Regulation on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)
EUR-LEX: COM(2021)298: Communication concerning the position of the Council on the adoption of a Regulation on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)
European Parliament: Legislative Observatory: Procedure File for Proposal on European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) 2021–2027 (2018/0206(COD))
European Parliament: Legislative Train Schedule: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)
European Commission: European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)
European Commission: Press Release, 30/05/2018: EU budget: A new Social Fund, Globalisation Adjustment Fund and Justice, Rights and Values Fund
European Commission: Questions and Answers on the new Social Fund and Globalisation Adjustment Fund for the period 2021-2027 (30 May 2018)
European Commission: Speech by Commissioner Thyssen presenting the European Social Fund Plus and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund under the next long-term EU budget (30 May 2021)
European Parliament: Press Release, 16/01/2019: MEPs want to EU to invest more in young people
European Commission: EU budget for recovery: Questions and answers on REACT-EU, cohesion policy post-2020 and the European Social Fund+ (28 May 2020)
General Secretariat of the Council: ESF Plus Regulation (amended proposal) - Partial mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 28/01/2021: European Social Fund Plus: Council and Parliament reach a provisional deal
European Parliament: Press Release, 29/01/2021: Agreement reached on the European Social Fund+ for 2021-2027
European Commission: Press Release, 29/01/2021: Commission welcomes political agreement on the ESF+
European Commission: Press Release, 29/01/2021: Commission welcomes political agreement on the ESF+
EPP Group: Newsroom, 04/03/2021: Governments and MEPs endorse Casa’s European Social Fund
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 28/05/2021: Council adopts €330 billion cohesion package for 2021-2027
European Parliament: Press Release, 08/06/2021: MEPs approve new Social Fund to support young people and the most deprived
S&D Group: Newsroom, 09/06/2021: The new ESF+ with its Child Guarantee must be the cornerstone for social recovery in Europe, say S&Ds

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