1 06/2014 ISSN n 37 SOCIAL AGENDA The new European Social Fund focus on 12 EU growth and jobs strategy A public consultation 24 Traineeships An EU quality framework Social Europe
2 2 / SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 E DITORIAL Until the 31 October 2014, EU citizens have the opportunity to reply to the public online consultation launched by the European Commission on the first four years of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth - and on how to make sure that it acts as an effective post-crisis strategy for growth and jobs in Europe. This consultation will pave the ground for a mid-term review of the strategy in European Union As the first signs of overcoming the financial and economic crisis appear, it is crucial to re-focus on the long-term objectives of Europe This will help the EU Member States converge again, especially in terms of jobs and social equality. Focusing more on long-term objectives Whatever the outcome of the Europe 2020 mid-term review, Member States have already been called upon to focus more on the Europe 2020 objectives, through two recent developments. One is the European Semester process of economic governance, which is now taking place for the fourth year running. Through this collective process, the European Council sends customised recommendations to each EU country on how to better implement the Europe 2020 strategy. The Member States later report on how they have taken these recommendations into account in their national budgets. The on-going 2014 European Semester has been enriched by the introduction of a scoreboard which brings together and further refines key employment and social affairs indicators, which have a great impact on the EU s overall capacity to benefit fully from the first signs of economic recovery. The second development is the new EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the years It explicitly connects the dissemination and management of EU funds to the way the Europe 2020 strategy is being implemented in each country. Investing in people is the key for Europe to restore its competitiveness on the world market. The new MFF reinforces the EU s main financial instrument for doing just that the European Social Fund. It will be more result-oriented than ever before. For the first time, the European Commission will have the right to call upon Member States to review, in due course, their plans on how to spend ESF money - if they fail to act upon EU recommendations on how to achieve one or the other objective of the Europe 2020 strategy. Michel Servoz Director General of the European Commission s Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion department A magazine providing information on European employment and social policies, Social Agenda is published four times a year in English, French and German by the European Commission s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Editor in chief: Michel Servoz, Director-General, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion European Commission, B-1049 Brussels. Subscription is free on request please fill in the registration form available at: Notice: Neither the European Commission, nor any person acting on its behalf, may be held responsible for the use to which information contained in this publication may be put, or for any errors which, despite careful preparation and checking, may appear. European Union, 2014 Non-commercial reproduction authorised, subject to acknowledgement of the source. For any use or reproduction of photos which are not under European Union copyright, permission must be sought directly from the copyright holder(s). Cover: Maud Millecamps European Union
3 SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 / 3 C ONTENTS EMPLOYMENT Taking EURES out of the grey area 6 RESTRUCTURING Anticipation and good management 8 INCLUSIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP The missing entrepreneurs 10 EUROPE 2020 STRATEGY Adjusting the sights 12 6 SPECIAL FEATURE The ESF and the EGF 14 The new European Social Fund 15 Nauras and Ebrahim, apprentice chefs 19 The EGF digs its heels in 21 What triggers EGF funding TRAINEESHIPS An EU quality framework 24 OTHER VOICES Pierre Baussand, Social Platform Director 26 INTERVIEW Michel Servoz, new Director General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission 27 European Health Insurance Card Social Platform
4 4 / SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 NEWS IN BRIEF 5 May: Public consultation on Europe 2020 Promising sector: On what should the EU growth strategy focus beyond 2015? The Commission launched an online public consultation on the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU s long-term growth and jobs plan. The consultation runs until 31 October 2014 to gather the views of all interested people and organisations on how the strategy has been working for the past four years, and on what its focus should be in the coming years. It follows a 5 March communication taking stock of the Europe 2020 strategy, which showed that progress on meeting its five headline targets has been mixed (see p.12). 28 April: More cooperation with ILO European Commissioner László Andor and ILO Director General Guy Ryder agreed to step up cooperation in the area of health and safety at work as a means to enhance synergy and promote consistency in the way occupational safety and health challenges are addressed at global level, and so better address this key challenge across the world. The better working conditions are, the more committed people can be to economic success. Improving working conditions can enhance efficiency and productivity within the enterprise, and it can boost competitiveness in broader terms. 24 April: Deterioration in worker satisfaction While just over half of European workers perceive working conditions in their country to be good (53 %), a majority (57 %) nevertheless think that their working conditions have deteriorated in the last 5 years, according to a Eurobarometer survey which looks at how the quality of work has been affected by the crisis. Although most workers are satisfied with their own working conditions (77 % on average in the EU), there is a very wide disparity across Member States, ranging from 94 % in Denmark to 38 % in Greece. 24 April: Improving worker rights enforcement The EU s Council of Ministers adopted a new Directive to ensure the better application at national level of EU citizens right to work in another Member State. The new rules aim to bridge the gap between rights and reality and will make it easier for people working or looking for a job in another country to exercise their rights in practice. Cross-border travelling: A new EU law ensures the better application at national level of EU citizens right to work in another Member State. 10 April: 26.2 million unemployed The EU population aged 15 to 74 can be classified into three groups: in 2013, there were million persons in employment, 26.2 million unemployed and million economically inactive. Among those in employment, 43.7 million were part-time workers, of which 9.9 million (23 % of part-time workers) are underemployed, meaning they wished to work more hours and were available to do so.
5 SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 / 5 NEWS IN BRIEF 9 April: Preventing undeclared work The European Commission proposed the creation of a European Platform to improve cooperation at EU level in order to prevent and deter undeclared work more effectively (see Social Agenda n 36). Undeclared work is a phenomenon that causes serious damage to working conditions, fair competition and public budgets. 8 April: Youth Guarantee conference Looking for a job: How are EU countries implementing the EU Youth Guarantee? At a Youth Guarantee: Making it Happen conference hosted by the European Commission in Brussels, President Barroso and Commissioner Andor gathered national and international organisations to discuss progress in tackling youth unemployment through the Youth Guarantee (see Social Agenda n 36). The conference also looked at how EU countries are implementing the schemes, as recommended by the Commission. 7 April: Managing stress at work The European Agency for Safety at Health at Work (EU-OSHA) launched the Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress campaign to raise awareness about the psychological, physical and social risks linked to stress at work. Stress is one of the most frequently reported work-related health problem in Europe and is believed to be the cause of the majority of all lost working days. 4 April: First signs of improvement for the Roma EU action has put Roma integration firmly on the political agenda across Europe. The first signs of improvement in the lives of Roma are slowly starting to show, says a new European Commission report which assesses progress made in the 28 EU countries since 2011 under the EU framework for Roma integration. They identify both positive examples and areas for further efforts from Member States. The assessment comes as local, national and EU politicians gather with representatives of civil society to discuss advances on Roma integration at the third EU-level Roma Summit 10 March: New EU fund for the most deprived The new EU Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) was adopted for the years It will provide over 3.8 billion to help Europe s most deprived. It will help Member States to provide a broad range of non-financial material assistance including food, clothing and other essential goods for personal use such as shoes, soap and shampoo to people most in need. It will ensure that up to 4 million people will benefit from immediate assistance. Food: A new EU fund will provide material, food and other forms of assistance to potentially 4 million people by 2020.
6 6 / SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 EMPLOYMENT Taking EURES out of the grey area The European Commission proposes a new law A need for clarity: EU countries are not transparent enough about the state of their respective labour markets. On 17 January 2014, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a Regulation (EU law directly applicable in the Member States) which would turn the EURES network into a more pro-active cross-eu job placement tool. EURES is a cooperation network set up in 1993 between the European Commission and the public employment services of the EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It offers a service to jobseekers and employers willing to benefit from free movement of work. The proposed Regulation gives EURES a comprehensive legal framework and reinforces its role in the context of the free movement of workers. More visible EURES would be made more visible. Presently, it has more than 1200 advisers that are in daily contact with jobseekers and employers across Europe. However, information about EURES needs to be mainstreamed. At their first encounter with a public employment service, job seekers and employers do not receive systematically all the information they need about it. For those job-seekers and employers who have shown an interest in moving within Europe, EURES support services need to be strengthened to assist with matching, recruitment and placement. This includes information on active labour market measures and on social security rights in all the countries involved. The EURES on-line portal has jumped from registered jobseekers in 2007 to in However, it has limited matching capability between job vacancies and CVs at European level. This is due to difficulties in reconciling the data sent by the national job vacancy systems of the EURES countries.
7 SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 / 7 Cross-EU mobility potential: Greek doctors and nurses meet representatives of German hospitals. New functionalities The European Commission is developing a European classification of skills, competences, qualifications and occupations. However, for the time being, Member States are not obliged to ensure mapping between their national systems and this European classification. Yet such mapping is crucial for automating the portal s matching capacity. There is also a lack of transparency on behalf of all Member States about the state of their respective labour markets. Only part of the national pool of vacancies (around 30 %) and CVs of each country is accessible via EURES. As it stands, the information exchange and cooperation between the Member States on national labour shortages and surpluses is inefficient. New partners The new law would open up EURES to other partners: temporary work agencies, non-governmental organisations, trade unions, industrial and employers associations so long as they fulfil all (or a combination of) specified roles and adhere to a set of rules (e.g. providing services to jobseekers for free, transparency, equal opportunities ). The European Commission would act as the European Coordination Office providing common information, training activities, tools and guidance and develop and maintain the EURES portal. Member States would set up National Coordination offices providing general support and assistance to all organisations operating for EURES and with their counterparts in the other countries, as well as with the European Coordination Office. Every job seeker and employer registering with employment services would be made aware of EURES and, if interested in moving, would receive a clear EURES offer for further assistance. The Member States would make available all the job vacancies they publish nationally, including those only available at local or regional level at present, as well as vacancies from private employment services and other organisations. The EURES portal would continue to receive CVs posted directly by jobseekers but would also receive those made available through organisations. The proposed rules would allow for an effective matching process at European level between job vacancies and candidates. Free movement As a result, EURES would be better placed to tap into the cross-europe mobility potential and increase the transparency of the European labour market. At present, about people move annually, on average, to work in another European country. Studies show that about 2.9 million EU citizens would ideally like to do so in the following twelve months. Fundamentally, the aim of the EURES reform is to increase the exchange of information among Member States, particularly on surpluses and shortages on national labour markets. This intelligence would place EURES in a better position to organise and coordinate placement and recruitment activities. It would also help the EURES countries to include mobility policies as an integral part of their social and employment policies. All in all, the proposed law introduces much more clarity: a shared vision on intra-eu labour mobility, a clear operational framework for coordination between Member States, systematic and intensive information sharing, common tools and a clear distribution of responsibilities. Jobseekers and employers would be able to make an informed choice on mobility and to better prepare it, thus increasing the chances of successful integration in the work place and in the host country. It would also contribute to achieving the EU aim of having 75 % of its workforce in employment by More information: Id=2014&furtherNews=yes The EURES job mobility portal: eures.europa.eu
8 8 / SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 RESTRUCTURING Informing and consulting workers: EU legislation in this area could be reviewed in the near future. >> Anticipation and good management The European Commission has adopted a quality framework The broader impact: Considering the industrial and social impact of restructuring on the cities and regions affected. More than restructuring operations have taken place since 2002 in the EU, with a net job loss of over 2 million. During the third quarter of 2013 alone, 250 cases of restructuring operations (company reorganisation, closures, mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, outsourcing, relocation ) were recorded, involving job losses against job gains. On 13 December 2013, the European Commission adopted an EU Quality Framework for anticipation of change and restructuring - a further step in the work it has undertaken for several years now on this issue, including the publication of a Green Paper in January 2012 (see Social Agenda n 29). Based on real experiences of companies, the Quality Framework contains guidelines in the form of individual cards which illustrate ways of anticipating restructuring and of managing specific restructuring processes: strategic long-term monitoring of market developments; continuous mapping of jobs and skills needs; measures for individual employees (e.g. training, career counselling, assistance to facilitate professional transitions); involvement of external actors at an early stage (e.g. public authorities, universities, training centres and the supply chain); making full use of EU structural funds (e.g. the European Social Fund and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, see the special feature p. 14) in the concerned regions, in order to promote job creation and transitions. The Quality Framework shows to what extent the employment and social dimensions of structural change have a bearing on the long-term competitiveness of companies. It considers the broader industrial and social impact of restructuring on the cities and regions affected, stressing the role of industrial and regional policies in anticipating adjustment to structural change. Mass redundancies Anticipation and management are the key words of the European Commission s approach to restructuring - the only way of avoiding mass redundancies and the decline of entire regions or the relocation of entire industries, often with a heavy cross-border impact. They facilitate economic reconversion and successful human transitions towards economic areas which will generate significant job opportunities in the years to come, such as the green economy, the digital and health sectors. Anticipating and managing restructuring better is also a means of avoiding heavy societal costs which have to be borne by public authorities, particularly as regards unemployment,
9 SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 / 9 increased inequality and poverty. These costs weigh greatly on public finances and can hamper economic recovery. The public sector too One of the novelties of the Quality Framework is that it covers the issue of public sector restructuring, which the governments of some EU countries are reluctant to address. At a time when public sector employees are gradually losing their specific status, there are less and less reasons to exclude them from attempts to improve the way restructuring is managed in the public sector - especially when the provision of public services moves from public monopolies towards concession systems, or when concessions are renewed. The public sector employs about 25 % of the EU workforce and plays a pivotal role in shaping the economy and society. Consulting workers In January 2013, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution linking up the issue of restructuration management with that of informing and consulting workers, including in restructuring situations: an area which is largely covered by EU legislation. Indeed, several EU laws, adopted since 1975, cover the protection of employees in the event of collective redundancies, transfers of undertakings, the insolvency of their employer as well as the permanent information and consultation of workers at national and transnational level. The Quality Framework is a supplementary step in this direction. The Commission will monitor the way the Member States and social partners implement it and take stock of the whole exercise in In the process, it will look into the possibility of consolidating or recasting the information and consultation directives at national level, with a view to improving their effectiveness and coherence, particularly as regards the definitions of information and consultation. More information: The steel and automotive industries show the way An example of restructuring good practices are the Steel Action Plan which the European Commission adopted on 11 June 2013 and the CARS 2020 Action Plan which it launched in November Both aim to help EU countries use the European Social Fund for workers retraining and reskilling, and facilitate dialogue between social partners in view of reaching an agreement on temporary initiatives to maintain jobs. The Steel Action Plan also intends to help industry play an active role to remedy skill gaps and shortages, as well as involving trade unions and regional stakeholders when envisaging to restructure. CARS 2020 identifies good practice and promotes an anticipative restructuring approach, in consultation with representatives of the automotive-intensive regions, of the employment authorities and of the sector s stakeholders, including the social partners. It encourages the EU countries concerned to make use of labour flexibility schemes in support of the suppliers who might need additional time to find new clients, following a closure or downsizing of an automotive plant.
10 10 / SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 INCLUSIVE ENTREPRENEUR SHIP Constrained: Some state welfare policies are poorly adapted to disabled people s self-employment. >> The missing entrepreneurs Helping governments make it easier for under-represented and disadvantaged people to create businesses Doors shut: Ethnic minorities and immigrant entrepreneurs are more likely to be forced to rely on non-bank and informal finance. Entrepreneurship creates jobs and growth but not all social groups have an equal opportunity to succeed. Women are half as likely to start businesses as men. Young people are only one-third as likely as adults to be selfemployed and their businesses are less likely to survive. Seniors who retire as employees can lack entrepreneurshipspecific skills and networks. Ethnic minorities and immigrant entrepreneurs are more likely to be forced to rely on non-bank and informal finance. And people with disabilities may be constrained by state welfare policies that are poorly adapted to self-employment. Many inspiring policy responses have been put in place at national, regional and local levels across Europe. Sweden has reformed the social security system for self-employed workers. Austria s Mingo Migrant Enterprises provides consultancy support to immigrants and ethnic minorities. The Flanders region in Belgium provides training, advice and coaching to unemployed people starting businesses and guarantees continued access to social benefits for 18 months. Two regions of the Czech Republic have created tailored consulting, business development and bank loan application assistance for female entrepreneurs. However, much more can be done, conclude the Organisation for Economic co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission, in their 2013 report on The Missing Entrepreneurs. Analysis and policy guidance Indeed, to better understand the challenges and inspire policy makers from existing experience, the European Commission and the OECD are collaborating in a series of annual reports, policy briefs, good practice compendiums, policy reviews and capacity-building seminars. As a result, the data collection and analysis capacity of the OECD is combined with the European Commission s connections with the authorities of the EU countries and its operational funds, such as the European Social Fund (see p.14) and the European programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI, see Social Agenda n 35).
11 SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 / 11 The 2013 Missing Entrepreneurs report contains a series of key recommendations focused on building a supportive institutional environment, improving entrepreneurship skills, facilitating access to finance, and improving policy delivery. It also brings together dispersed data on entrepreneurship activities and barriers for disadvantaged groups, analyses the main policy issues and gives inspiring policy examples from each EU Member State. The project is not so much about new data collection, explains Jonathan Potter, Senior Economist at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development, who supervised the preparation and editing of the annual report. It is about bringing together information that does exist and putting it into one reference document. Employment and unemployment data are easy to get but there is a gap in information on what the rates of business creation for different social groups are and how their businesses fare. The present OECD-Commission conventions in this area run until However, the avenue of greater understanding and more action for entrepreneurship and self-employment of disadvantaged and under-represented groups, is particularly underexplored. There are enough topics and angles to address to carry on well beyond this deadline, underlines Marco Fantini, Deputy Head of the Sectorial Employment challenges, Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship service at the European Commission. Especially in view of the fact that, to return to pre-crisis EU employment levels, approximately 4 million jobs are needed. More information: Supporting entrepreneurs and the self-employed Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion - publications catalogue on entrepreneurship 8&langId=en&advSearchKey=entrepreneur&mode=advance dsubmit&langid=en&search=search The Missing Entrepreneurs - Policies for inclusive entrepreneurship in Europe (18/12/2013) ubid=7685&type=2&furtherpubs=yes OECD LEED Programme (Local Economic and Employment Development) Inspiring entrepreneur Veronica Hedenmark, from Gothenburg, Sweden, founded three companies from 1996 onwards: VH Assistants, VH Action and VH Kids. All three provide personal assistance for children, youth and adults with disabilities. Today, these companies have more than 600 employees altogether across Sweden. Veronica was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a congenital bone disorder characterised by brittle bones. By the time that she had turned 9 years old, she had already suffered 152 bone fractures. Despite her condition, Veronica had a very social upbringing and enjoyed attending public school. However, upon graduating high school, she was left confused and insulted when the Social Insurance Office offered her an early retirement pension, implying that she would never be able to work. Today, in addition to running successful businesses, Veronica is a successful advocate for people with disabilities and is a sought after speaker. In 2008 she was appointed ambassadress of the Swedish Minister for Enterprise and was a finalist for Making Prize. She won the Compass Rose in 2009, the King s award for young leaders and was named by Business World magazine as one of the 100 Most Powerful leaders under the age of 40.
12 12 / SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 EUROPE 2020 STRATEGY Internet consultation: EU citizens can air their views on how the EU s Europe 2020 strategy, launched in 2010, has worked so far. >> Adjusting the sights The EU is not on track to meet its employment and social policy targets but it has sharpened its tools Divergent: The divergence between EU countries is clearly visible in the rates of youth unemployment. On 5 May 2014, the European Commission launched an online public consultation on Europe 2020, the EU s strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The consultation will be open until 31 October. Its aim is to draw lessons from the first four years of the strategy. One of the novelties of the Europe 2020 strategy, when it was adopted in 2010, was that the EU countries collectively decided to try and meet quantifiable employment, education, poverty, research and climate targets. In particular, they aimed to have at least 75 % of people aged in employment, to reduce the school drop-out rates to below 10 % and increase the share of young people with a third-degree or diploma to at least 40 % and to ensure 20 million fewer people are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Each country then translated these headline EU targets into individual national targets, based on its own starting point. Four years later, the EU as a whole is not on track to meet its employment and poverty reduction goals. In fact, results and forecasts at Member State level vary widely from one country to another in these areas. Divergences Since 2010, imbalances or divergence within EU countries and between them the southern and peripheral countries, on one hand, and the northern and central ones, on the other - have increased in the area of employment and social affairs. A stock-taking Communication published by the European Commission on 5 March 2014 confirms that Member States focus has clearly been on emergency crisis management rather than on meeting the long-term goals of the Europe 2020 strategy. EU governance However, the Europe 2020 strategy has had a structuring impact on the development of EU-level economic and social governance and on its financial framework. In 2010, a European Semester process was put in place. It leads the Heads of state and governments to send recommendations to each EU country at the beginning of summer on how to better implement the EU 2020 strategy. Each Member State must later report back on the way it has taken them into account when preparing its own budget for the following year. And at the end of 2013, the EU adopted the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which conditions the availability of EU funds to the way Member States are implementing the Europe 2020 strategy. For the first time, the European Commission can now ask a Member State to
13 SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 / 13 adapt its operational programmes in due course to European Semester recommendations. The European Semester is now in its fourth year. And while the previous MFF ( ) had been conceived well before the Europe 2020 strategy, the new MFF, strongly linked to the strategy, is fully in place. imbalances is becoming crucial for the quality and speed of each country s recovery. This entails re-focusing on the Europe 2020 objectives. The more cohesion there is inside and between EU countries, the more and the earlier each Member State will benefit from the first symptoms of recovery. Spill-over effects All EU countries have undertaken or are preparing reforms in many employment and social areas in all EU countries. However, the problem lies with the degree of progress, which varies considerably across policy areas and between Member States. Employment and social problems that are not sufficiently addressed in one country have a knock-on and spill-over effect on the more resilient ones. This in turn makes for reduced aggregate demand, eroded confidence and contamination via the financial markets. To better grasp the social and employment impact of the crisis and prevent such spill-over effects from happening, the ongoing 2014 European Semester has been enriched with a new scoreboard which brings together key employment and social data (see box). The Scoreboard will allow for better and earlier identification of major employment and social trends and, therefore for swifter action. Thanks to the 2014 Scoreboard, the divergence between EU countries is clearly visible in the rates of unemployment, of youth unemployment and of young people who are neither in employment nor in training or in education. Greater divergence within the euro area, compared to the EU as a whole, is also apparent as far as household income and inequalities are concerned. And the poverty rates have increased in some euro zone countries while remaining steady in others. Crisis exit As the first signs of overcoming the crisis begin to appear, addressing country-specific and intra-eu employment and social To take part in the public consultation: index_en.htm A scoreboard for employment and social data An EU employment and social developments scoreboard was created at the end of It consists of five indicators of trends in EU countries that can severely undermine employment, social cohesion and human capital: unemployment, youth unemployment and the rate of those not in education, employment or training; household disposable income, the at risk-of-poverty rate and income inequalities. It is an analytical tool which brings together data which the European Commission has been collecting from different sources, giving it more visibility and impact. The Scoreboard was first published in the 2013 Joint (European Commission and EU Council of Ministers) Employment Report, one of the documents which serve as a basis for the European Semester (see main article).
14 14 / SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 SPECIAL FEATURE The ESF and the EGF Social Agenda is carrying on its review of the EU Multiannual Financial Framework ESF (European Social Fund), EGF (European Globalisation Adjustment Fund) In many ways, those two EU funds are very different. The ESF was created at the inception of the European Economic Community, in It represents an important part of the EU budget and amounts to more than 80 billion for The EGF was only created in 2007 and it is funded by money left over at the end of each year in the EU budget, within a ceiling of 150 million per year. Yet the EGF and the ESF are complementary. The EGF is designed to increase employability and ensure the rapid reintegration of redundant workers into employment through active labour market measures, while the ESF is the major instrument for promoting employment in the EU. Different time perspectives The complementarity of the two funds lies in their ability to address these issues from two different time perspectives. The EGF provides tailor-made assistance to redundant workers in response to a specific European-scale mass redundancy event, within two years after a country has applied for it. As for the ESF, it supports strategic, long-term goals (e.g. increasing human capital, promoting innovation) through preprogrammed multi-annual programmes, the resources of which cannot normally be reallocated to deal with crisis situations caused by mass redundancies. However, it also provides half of the available funding for the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) which funds direct and immediate support to young people neither in employment nor in education or training, in those areas most affected youth unemployment. The YEI is in fact managed via the ESF. EGF and ESF measures are sometimes used to complement each other to provide both short-term and longer-term solutions. The decisive criterion is the potential of the available instruments to effectively help workers, and it is up to the EU countries to select and programme the instruments and actions best suited to achieving their objectives. Whether they choose the ESF or the EGF, in both cases the Member States have to top up the EU funds with national funding. But of course, between the ESF and the EGF, there is a huge difference in the amounts of money involved. Thinkstock Effective help: EU funds effectively help workers, in the short term or in a more strategic, medium-to-long term approach.
15 SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 / 15 More participation: Women s labour market participation and day-care facilities for children are now ESF investment priorities. The new European Social Fund Andriana Sukova-Tosheva and Peter Stub Jørgensen, European Social Fund Directors at the European Commission, explain what is new about the vintage Reaching an agreement on the European Social Fund (ESF) required a great number of trilogue discussions between the EU Council of Ministers, the European Parliament and the European Commission When the Commission drafted its proposal in 2011, we knew that there would be tough political discussions on some of the novelties it contained: macro-economic conditionalities, performance reserve, ex-ante conditionalities, the Youth Employment Initiative (see box p.18). Macro-economic conditionalities? They relate to the macro-economic stability of the economy of each EU country. They ensure that EU funds are focused on achieving the targets of the EU s Europe 2020 strategy for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (see p.12). For the first time, the European Commission can now ask a Member State to change its operational programmes and adapt them to recommendations sent to that particular country by the EU as a result of the European Semester economic governance process. What about the performance reserve? It introduces the new principle of result orientation into EU cohesion policy. This implies that a certain percentage of the overall spending for priority axes and operational programmes be put aside until a mid-term evaluation is carried out. If the milestones are met, then the money set aside goes automatically to those axes and programmes. If they are not met, the money may go to other priority axes and operational programmes, in the same Member State, which are really having an impact. And ex-ante conditionalities? These are new provisions which actually ensure that EU funding is focused on results. They are a combination of requirements: an appropriate regulatory framework, effective policies with clear objectives and a sufficient administrative or institutional capacity. Ex-ante conditionalities represent a strong incentive for EU countries to ensure the effective delivery of Europe 2020 objectives and targets through the ESF and the other European Structural and
16 16 / SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 SPECIAL FEATURE European Union Result oriented: Because the EU budget has been reduced, the European Commission pushed all the more for result-orientation and for the added value of EU spending (Andriana Sukova-Tosheva). Investment (ESI) funds. They are key to ensuring that all institutional and strategic policy arrangements are in place for effective investment. And what about the Youth Employment Initiative? This was a hot issue, not only because it was integrated in the regulations at a time when discussions on the draft Commission proposals had already started, but also because of its high political profile and the technical nature of the different elements that were negotiated. But in the end, we succeeded in preserving almost intact our initial proposal. This is a dedicated support for young people, but also for EU countries in implementing their Youth Guarantee Implementation plans. Pre-financing was also hotly debated Yes, the co-legislators also happen to be the budgetary authorities! A difficult agreement was reached on how much initial pre-financing should go to the Member States and how much pre-financing should be cleared on an annual basis. The main thing is that any money that is given is spent on time and contributes to effective results rather than being stored somewhere without being used. Are you happy with the ESF Regulation as adopted in November 2013 by Council and Parliament? The Commission put forward its proposals in In the meantime, the Heads of State and governments introduced additional elements, such as the Youth Employment Initiative in favour of young people who are neither in employment, education or training, or the SME initiative. At the beginning of European integration, the ESF represented half of European funds. Since the introduction of a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), its relative share has been declining. The ESF puts an end to this decline. There is now a minimum share of ESF funding within the EU cohesion policy. Because the overall EU budget has been reduced, we pushed all the more for result-orientation and for the added value of EU spending. We also promoted simplification: easing the administrative burden for the beneficiaries and reducing the risk of error for managing authorities. Could you expand on the issue of simplification? We are switching focus from process to results. It s a small revolution called simplified costs options which was introduced in 2007 for the ESF and European Regional Development Fund. It was so successful in some Member States that it has been expanded in scope as well as to all ESI Funds. Simplified costs options will allow Member States and fund managers to focus on what they are actually doing rather than how they are doing it. Until now, they had to keep evidence of even small expenditure like bus tickets, telephone bills With the simplified costs options, if for example providing training in a particular school costs on average 100 euros, the EU will reimburse on that basis and will only check how many people effectively completed the training and how the average cost was calculated. That removes a lot of error sources and bureaucracy and allows people to concentrate on the outcome (training people) rather than on managing the funds. We also have the
17 SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 / 17 SPECIAL FEATURE performance framework through which we now measure what is produced as a result of our intervention: not how much money we put into it but how many people actually obtain better qualifications and manage to find a job. So it s the results that matter. Indicators play a very big role there: when you start measuring and setting quantifiable targets that you can reach, you know whether you are successful or not. So the focus is now on results rather than processes? Yes. We now have a new concept: the Joint action plan. The Commission says to a Member State: Tell us what you want to achieve, e.g. raise the education level of a certain cohort of young people. We don t check how you do it. What we do care about is setting up some targets, taking action and measuring what has been achieved and if you reach your targets you will be paid accordingly, according to an agreed formula. Has the Europe 2020 strategy reinforced the ESF? Yes. We are now going for thematic concentration: we try to focus all the efforts and money on certain key priorities in each Member State, in line with Europe 2020 and the relevant EU recommendations (the European Semester, see p.12) so that there are visible results. That s how we can prove the added-value for European spending and contribute to the achievement of the Europe 2020 objectives. This strong link with the overall EU strategy is new, with all the structural investment funds moving in the same direction. Could you specify what reaching the Europe 2020 targets means for the ESF? To reach the employment target, Europe has to provide support for people to improve their employability. This is reflected in the ESF investment priority for balancing out private and professional life, in order to increase the participation of women in the labour market, as well as through an investment priority focusing on day-care facilities for their children. Another example relates to the capacity of the public administration to function in a modern society. In some EU countries, there are deficiencies in the services delivered by the public authorities. The ESF can be used for capacity-building: e.g. funding the training of lawyers in fiscal matters. An efficient public administration is part of the ex-ante conditionalities we talked about earlier on. Getting the Member States to involve other actors in managing EU funds is also an important part of the new ESF? Yes, the more you involve your partners and stakeholders, the more ownership you will get. In the process, you will ensure a European Union Conditional: An efficient public administration is part of the conditions for receiving ESF funding, which can be used for capacity-building: e.g. funding the training of lawyers in fiscal matters (Peter Stub Jørgensen).
18 18 / SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 SPECIAL FEATURE better and more transparent performance. The Commission has adopted a European code of conduct on partnership. It specifies what kind of partnerships Member States need to set up in order to draw up their partnership agreement, how to involve them in the monitoring committees and in the evaluation of the operational programmes. In a democratic society, everybody should be involved in the overall spending of the EU budget, which stems from the contribution of every single taxpayer. We have always had partnerships but now it is done in a more systematic way. It permeates the entire process, from the concept and the first ideas to the drafting of the proposal and the finalisation of the agreement. Is everything on track for the new ESF to become operational? The new ESF regulation entered into force on 22 December 2013, which means that the deadline for the European Commission to receive all partnership agreements was 22 April Then Member States have three months to submit their operational programmes to the Commission. However, you must bear in mind that the ESF is still pretty much active. Right now, we have have spent only two thirds of the money available for the previous programming period: we still have 25 billion euros to pay out this year, next year and the year after : some of the novelties More than 80 billion: A critical mass of human capital investment will be ensured through a minimum guaranteed share of the ESF within the cohesion policy funding in each Member State. More than 80 billion (in current prices) will be invested in Europe s people over the next 7 years; 20 % to social inclusion: Allocating at least 20 % of the ESF allocation to social inclusion will mean that people in difficulties and those from disadvantaged groups will get more support to have the same opportunities as others to integrate into the labour market; Mainstreaming gender equality: Promoting equality between women and men and equal opportunities for all without any discrimination will be integrated in all actions and also supported through specific initiatives; Youth: A greater emphasis is placed on combating youth unemployment. The Youth Employment Initiative will help young people not in employment, education or training in regions experiencing youth unemployment rates above 25 %. At least 6.4 billion (in current prices), half of which from the ESF, will come in support of Member States efforts to put their Youth guarantee implementation plans in practice; Concentrating funding for achieving results: the ESF will focus its interventions on a limited number of priorities in order to ensure a sufficiently high critical mass of funding to make a real impact in addressing Member States key challenges; Transnational cooperation: Enhanced support will be provided by the Commission through a common framework and an EU-wide platform for exchange of experience, mutual learning and capitalisation of results; Innovation: Greater support will be provided to social innovation, i.e. testing and scaling up innovative solutions to address social, employment and education needs; Partnership: The ESF will be implemented in close cooperation between public authorities, social partners and bodies representing civil society at national, regional and local levels throughout the whole programme cycle; Simplification: The European Social Fund will be at the forefront of innovative managing rules to simplify implementation of projects. The European Commission is helping Member States to simplify ESF implementation in order to focus more on the results and make ESF easier and safer for the beneficiaries.
19 SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 / 19 SPECIAL FEATURE Nauras and Ebrahim, apprentice chefs Learning cooking and life skills through a course backed by the ESF Rudi Miel European Union Increasing young people s opportunitites: Nauras is from Iraq, Ebrahim from Iran but both found asylum in Germany and trained as chefs in France thanks to a German programme co-funded by the ESF. Nauras comes from Iraq. She left Baghdad when she was 7, when her neighbourhood was bombed. She lived in Jordan for five years and moved to Germany when she was 13. She missed the sun, had to learn the language and to write from left to right. When she was 15, she worked as a barmaid to make a bit of money. The opportunity to train and become a chef came from a job centre. Ebrahim is from Iran, which he left when he was 17, during his military service. His mother helped him escape. He crossed Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia on foot for 21 days. He met up with his brother in Italy. He had not seen him for 5 years. His brother drove him to Germany. His early days there were tough. He had to wait several years for his work permit and he was not allowed to study. Then he had an interview with the same job centre as Nauras. Both Ebrahim and Nauras live in Koblenz, Germany, and were given the opportunity to do a traineeship in Bordeaux, France. Over to Nauras: I was sceptical. It seemed too good to be true. I did the trainee ship in Bordeaux for a few weeks and I loved it!
20 20 / SOCIAL AGENDA / JUNE 2014 SPECIAL FEATURE It taught me a great deal. I learnt about certain ways of working and trying different approaches to cooking. I always loved baking and making desserts. But the project enabled me to learn that there are lots of other things that interest me in the kitchen. Every time I prepare an ingredient, I think about its flavour and the way I could use it in a recipe. I love to discreetly observe the customers reaction when they taste my dishes, especially when I ve made something new or unusual. I am also careful to present the dishes well in general. I am a real perfectionist. I try to motivate my colleagues to get them to do the same. The kitchen team is like a family. Everyone has adopted me, even though it is a male-dominated environment. Everyone agrees on how good my chocolate cake is. But the recipe is a secret! I ve had a German passport for two years now but I still don t feel completely German. When people ask where I am from, I always instinctively want to say Iraq. But this is more of an emotional issue because I do really like living in Germany. I speak German and my friends speak German. I appreciate all that my host country has done for me. I m the first to support the German national team in football matches!. Ebrahim adds: My interview with the job centre was a shock, but a positive one. The moment everything clicked was when I did the traineeship in Bordeaux. All of a sudden, I knew I had found my way. I was certain. I was proud. I was going to be able to be a role model for my son, who was born in Germany. The thing I like the most about the training I received is the confidence people have in me: they believed in my abilities. And the most satisfying thing, when I experiment with new things in the kitchen, new combinations of flavours, is when customers enjoy my dish creations. I love making special dishes from scratch and impressing customers. My life is here now, even though my heart is still in Iran. I had a very happy childhood. I have good memories of my home country. My father still lives there. I went to Iran a few years ago. The government has given up looking for me. I will go back definitely. And maybe open a hotel there, why not But the minute I am focusing on my training, I want to travel and to learn new things in Asia (China or Japan). I love the way they sculpt fruit and vegetable and how they cook shellfish, crustaceans and fish. I still have a lot to learn. Taken from: Seven lives on the road to success with the European Social Fund, ISBN Video: aitid=258 More information: Integrating the labour market in Germany via France Nauras and Ebrahim benefited from MYK4international, an innovative qualification project in the hotel and catering sector. Its aim is to increase the training and employment opportunities of disadvantaged young people through guided learnings and working visits in France. The project is managed by the Institute for Applied Communication Research in Non-Formal Education, IKAB ev, which was founded in Bonn, Germany, in The aim of IKAB ev is to contribute to the promotion of civil society in Europe through intercultural political education. Besides the acquisition of job-specific skills, the participants to MYK4international have the opportunity to develop and deepen their intercultural and social competencies, as well as their competence in foreign languages. MYK4international is promoted and funded by the German Federal ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the European Social Fund, the Job Centres of the Mayen-Koblenz administrative districts and other partners, in the framework of the Integration through exchange programme.