The ESF action domains of the Belgian federal programme 2007-2013
The European Social Fund (ESF) is one of the Structural Funds of the European Union. The ESF aims to level the differences between the member states with respect to wealth and standards of living in view of the promotion of economic and social cohesion.
The ESF is also the most important European financial instrument for the EU growth and employment strategy. This European Employment Strategy for (EES) encourages the 27 member states to cooperate towards the provision of more and better jobs, as well as to offer the necessary skills to their workforce for the implementation of these jobs. The EES is a guide for the ESF, which invests European funds in the realisation of the two main goals for the period 2007-2013: first: "convergence" for the member states and regions with a less advanced economic development, and second: "competitiveness and employment”.
Every member state will work out a national strategic reference framework (NSR) that defines the cohesion policy of that country for the period 2007-2013. The NSR determines the general scope for aid of the Structural Funds - the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRD) and the European Social Fund (ESF) - for the realisation of the goals “convergence" and “competitiveness and employment”. The Belgian NSR was approved by the European Commission on 2 October 2007.
For the execution of the policy priorities, as defined in the NSR, the member states and regions set up an Operational Programme (OP) that covers a period of seven years, and which is then negotiated with the European Commission. In accordance with the distribution of competence in the areas of education and employment, the ESF aid in Belgium translates into five autonomous OPs.
The federal OP is founded on two pillars: a pillar “social integration” and a pillar “employment”. The current OP came into being through cooperation between the PPS Social Integration, Poverty Reduction and Social Economy and the FPS Employment, Labour and Social Consultation.
The ESF budget for the federal programme 2007-2013 amounts to 45,064,810 euros, 38,305,088 euros of which goes to the pillar “Social Integration” and 6,759,722 euros of which goes to the pillar “Employment”. In view of this distribution, management of the federal ESF means is safeguarded by the ESF unit of the PPS Social Integration; the political responsibility for the new programming lies with the Minister of Social Integration.
The OP focuses on three axes.
For more information about the federal ESF programme 2007-2013 we invite you to have a look at the Descriptive guide.