The European Social Fund

Europeiska socialfonden förvaltas av Svenska ESF-rådet. Från fonden kan du söka pengar till projekt som bidrar till att fler får arbete. Den här sidan är en till för dig som vill få en introduktion till fonden och dess syfte.

The Swedish ESF Council is responsible for administering the European Social Fund (ESF) in Sweden. You can apply for grants from the ESF for projects that contribute to more people joining the workforce. This page is intended to offer an introduction to the ESF and its purpose.

The EU’s main tool for jobs

The ESF is the EU’s main instrument for supporting jobs, helping people get better jobs and ensuring fairer job opportunities for all EU citizens. Member States contribute to the fund and the money goes to local, regional and national projects that create jobs, help the business community and increase people’s skills. In partnership with the European Commission, each Member State agrees on one or more Operational Programmes for ESF funding describing the priorities and objectives of ESF activities.

The ESF is one of the EU’s European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds. The ESI Funds are intended to strengthen the economy and social cohesion in Member States. The ESF is also intended to reduce economic differences and gaps in living standards between Member States.

Operational Programmes

Each country agrees on its own Operational Programme. This is a plan for how money from the ESF is to be used, including priorities and objectives. Operational Programmes must be adapted to the conditions and labour market challenges in the country in question. The current programming period, ESF+, runs from 2021 to 2027 and has five programme areas.

Regions and action plans

Work to implement Sweden’s national Operational Programme is being conducted in eight regions in Sweden. Each region has its own action plan. This has been drawn up in consultation with regional stakeholders based on regional conditions and challenges.

Structural Fund Partnerships

To ensure regional influence over the implementation of the ESF+ Operational Programme, each region has a Structural Fund Partnership with elected members of municipal and regional assemblies and representatives from public-, private- and third-sector organisations. The task of Structural Fund Partnerships is to prioritise applications for funding based on regional needs. Once a call is closed, the Swedish ESF Council first assesses which applications for project funding meet the requirements and then prepares documentation as a basis for the Structural Fund Partnerships to prioritise projects. These priorities then form the basis for the Swedish ESF Council’s decision on which projects will ultimately receive funding. Structural Fund Partnerships only prioritise regional projects. National projects are decided on and prioritised by the Swedish ESF Council

Supervisory committee

Sweden has a national supervisory committee for ESF+. The committee is tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Operational Programme to ensure that it maintains a high level of quality and efficiency.

Transnational cooperation

Transnational cooperation means that initiatives for the target group are underway in at least one other Member State. Through transnational cooperation, ESF+ helps to build a common Europe by creating the conditions for cross-sectorial, cross-border exchanges. These initiatives are intended to help meet common challenges and are used as a tool for innovation, learning and disseminating results.

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