On 16 January, the European Parliament adopted in plenary the report on the European Social Fund+ (ESF+). MEPs agreed to increase the budget for the ESF+ to €120 billion for 2021-2027, a 19% increase from the Commission’s proposal.
The voting result is overall favourable for a stronger urban dimension in the ESF+. The report mentions the role of cities and local authorities 17 times compared to no mention in the Commission’s proposal. Other key results are:
- Explicit mention for ESF+ to support efforts at all levels of government, including at local level
- The partnership article calls explicitly on member states to ensure partnership with local authorities
- The link of ESF+ to cohesion policy is reinforced
- ESF+ should support integrated territorial development
- Flexibility clause was introduced to ensure that at managing authority level priorities for ESF+ can be identified in line with the specific local or regional challenges
- A strong focus on social innovation with emphasis on scaling up of local projects developed by cities in the field of reception and integration and inclusion of third-country nationals