According to a recent Commission report assessing the European Social Fund (ESF) and Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) support, from 2014 until 2018, approximately 23 million persons participated in ESF actions; 52% of participants were women.
Of those participating, nearly 3.2 million people have already found employment and 3.9 million successfully gained a qualification. Moreover, the ESF and YEI support is expected to add nearly 0.33% to the overall GDP growth by 2023. This highlights the ESF’s significant positive social and economic impacts, based on the analysis of ESF support from 2014 to 2018.
The ESF is giving a much-needed boost to Member States’ GDP and – more importantly – is helping Europeans find sustainable and meaningful work. Projects under the ESF have allowed EU citizens to pursue further education and retrain, staying mobile and in a job. This will prove crucial to reverting the pandemic related economic downturn. Positive impacts are shown to be particularly high for low-skilled citizens, the main target of ESF and YEI projects.
Other findings of the report include:
- ESF and YEI projects generate long -term effects through changes to structural policies and increased productivity, in addition to the direct impacts for participants.
- Up- and re-skilling achieved thanks to ESF support to employment and labour (€40.4 billion by end 2018), as well as education and training, is critical to combating the effects of the current pandemic, but also to helping EU citizens build the skills necessary to face Europe’s digital transition.
- ESF funding for social inclusion (€33.8 billion by end 2018) is expected to lead to jobs for unemployed persons. Furthermore, it should also result in more otherwise inactive people entering the workforce.
- Such significant benefits are expected to be spread across the EU:
- Regions of Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Belgium and Portugal and, to some extent, the UK, will show significant improvements via Youth Employment investment
- Regions of Belgium, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Bulgaria, will benefit significantly from ESF support to employment and labour mobility
- Regions of France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Hungary and Bulgaria, will benefit the most from ESF support to social inclusion
- Regions of Portugal, Greece, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia will benefit the most from ESF support to education and training.