European structural funds include the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Both funds are part of the European Cohesion policy, which aims to create a more cohesive Europe and thus achieve one of the core principles underpinning the EU. To fulfil its mission, Cohesion Policy must reduce economic, social and human rights-based inequalities between regions throughout Europe.
The Europe 2020 Strategy has given even more importance to the role that Structural Funds will play in the delivery of its 5 headline targets, including the social targets (education, employment, and particularly poverty reduction).
The present set-up of Structural Funds runs between 2014 and 2020. During this period € 351.8 billion will be invested to strengthen growth and contribute to social and economic cohesion. The amount each Member State receives depends on its per capita gross domestic product (GDP). You may find additional information here.
The Social Investment Package, published in February 2013, included a Staff Working Document on Social investment through the European Social Fund giving some indications on the way the Commission intends to use Structural Funds to facilitate social investment across the EU.
Both funds contribute directly to social innovation and improving the quality of social services throughout Europe, in areas such as the transition to community based services and the training of staff.
EASPD actively works with its partners to improve the uptake of structural funds for social service providers; in particular through simplification and the partnership principle. Partners include Social Services Europe, the Social Platform and the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care
- EASPD, Social Platform, Social Services Europe - Letter to MEPs: Suspending European Structural Funds will hit disadvantaged most (2016) & EASPD Press Release
- Social Services Europe - What opportunities for social services in the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2014-2020 Programming period? - 2016
- EASPD - Study Assessing how to simplify access to ESIF for social services - 2015
- European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-Based Care (EEG) - Toolkit on the Use of European Union Funds for the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care - 2012