The Operational Programmes are the operational plans of the National Partnership Agreement, which is the agreement between Ireland and the EU Commission outlining Ireland’s priorities for spending EU Structural and Investment Funds under the EU Cohesion Policy. These Programming documents outline particular areas where Structural Funds monies are to be invested. The funding is done in seven-year programming periods.
The ESF + aims at supporting Member States to tackle the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, achieve high employment levels, fair social protection and a skilled and resilient workforce ready for the transition to a green and digital economy. The ESF+ finances the implementation of the principles from the European Pillar for Social Rights through actions in the area of employment, education & skills and social inclusion.
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the Department of Education and Skills, and the three Regional Assemblies conducted a consultation process to inform the selection of priorities for the use of EU cohesion funding in Ireland for the period 2021-2027. Information on the consultation and the development of the ESF+ programme 2021-2027 can be found here: https://eufunds.ie/european-social-fund2/operational-programmes/esf-2021-2027/ .
The Programme for Employability, Inclusion & Learning 2014-2020 is the successor to the Human Capital Investment Operational Programme (HCI OP) 2007-2013. This Operational Programme takes into consideration and complements actions in the human capital area to be taken at EU and national level aimed at making Europe a more attractive place to invest and work, enhancing knowledge and innovation for growth and creating more and better jobs.
The Human Capital Investment Operational Programme (HCI OP) was the only ESF programme for Ireland for the period 2007 to 2013 and the funding for the Programme for the period was €751m in total, with €375m of it being co-financed from the ESF. The focus of the Operational Programme was on labour market activation of the unemployed and on education and equality programmes. Though the Programme period has expired, expenditure in respect of Programme activities is still eligible until end-2015.
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