European Parliament stops further reduction of European Social Fund budget
The European Parliament's regional development committee today confirmed the result achieved in negotiations with the European Council and the European Commission on regulations for the different funds under European Cohesion Policy 2014-2020. Overall, €325bn, about one third of the total EU budget, will be invested in regional development over the coming seven years. A key point was that for the first time ever there will be a fixed minimum share for the European Social Fund (ESF), ensuring that member states cannot go below this red line in ESF allocation. Commenting on today's vote, Elisabeth Schroedter, Greens/EFA MEP and spokesperson on regional development and member of the trilogue negotiation team, stated:
"For the first time ever, we have a clear minimum share for the European Social Fund at EU level. We also introduced a regression clause which requires member states to maintain and not drop below the ESF allocation in the current funding period. The compromise that was confirmed in the committee today sets out that at least 23.1% of the cohesion policy allocation must go to the ESF. This is an important achievement and will help fight poverty and youth unemployment in the EU. This agreement means member states will have to stop continuously reducing the amount going to the ESF from the cohesion policy budget. The EU is going through a severe social crisis. It is therefore of utmost importance to ensure that the ESF is not cut - it plays a crucial role in the fight against youth unemployment and supports social inclusion."