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Community programme for employment and solidarity - PROGRESS (2007-2013)

The aim of the future PROGRESS programme is to provide financial support for the implementation of the European Union’s objectives in the field of employment and social affairs. PROGRESS, the budget for which is €743 million, finances analysis, mutual learning, awareness-raising and dissemination activities, as well as assistance for the main players over the period 2007-2013. The programme is divided into five sections corresponding to five main fields of activity: employment, social protection and inclusion, working conditions, diversity and combating discrimination, and equality between women and men.

ACT

Decision No 1672/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006 establishing a Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity — PROGRESS [Official Journal L 315 of 15.11.2006] [See amending act(s)].

SUMMARY

Up to now, Community activities in the fields of employment, social inclusion and protection, promoting gender equality and the principle of non-discrimination have been supported by separate action programmes.

With a view to improving coherence and efficiency, the European Commission has proposed to group these subjects together in a single framework programme known as PROGRESS.

GENERAL OBJECTIVES

The programme has six objectives:

  • to improve knowledge and understanding of the social situation of the Member States through analysis, evaluation and close monitoring of policies;
  • to support the development of statistical tools and methods and common indicators;
  • to support and monitor the implementation of legislation and policy objectives;
  • to promote networking, mutual learning, and the identification and dissemination of good practice at EU level;
  • to make stakeholders and the general public aware of European Union (EU) policies in the fields of employment, social protection and inclusion, working conditions, diversity and non-discrimination, and equality between men and women;
  • to boost the capacity of the key EU networks to promote and support EU policies.

STRUCTURE: FIELDS OF ACTIVITY AND TYPES OF ACTION

The programme is divided into the following five sections:

  • employment;
  • social protection and inclusion;
  • working conditions;
  • diversity and combating discrimination;
  • equality between women and men.

The programme will finance the following types of action:

  • analyses;
  • mutual learning, awareness-raising and dissemination activities;
  • support for the main players; i.e. contributing to the operating costs of the main networks in the Union, the formation of working groups, funding training seminars, creating networks of specialist bodies and observatories at EU level, staff exchanges between national administrations and cooperation with international institutions.

The programme has a list of operational objectives for each of the sections.

Employment

The objective of this section is to support implementation of the European Employment Strategy by:

  • improving understanding of the employment situation, in particular through analyses and studies and the development of statistics and indicators;
  • monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the European Employment Guidelines and Recommendations and analysing the interaction between the EES and other policy areas;
  • organising exchanges on policies and processes and promoting mutual learning in the context of the EES;
  • reinforcing awareness-raising, disseminating information and promoting debate, in particular among regional and local players and the social partners.

Social protection and inclusion

This section will support the implementation of the Open Method of Coordination in the field of social protection and inclusion by:

  • improving understanding of poverty issues and social protection and inclusion policies, in particular through analyses and studies and the development of statistics and indicators;
  • monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Open Method of Coordination in the field of social protection and inclusion and analysing the interaction between this method and other policy areas;
  • organising exchanges on policies and processes and promoting mutual learning in the context of the social protection and inclusion strategy;
  • raising awareness, disseminating information and promoting debate, in particular among NGOs and regional and local players;
  • developing the ability of the main EU networks (e.g. of national experts or NGOs) to pursue the EU’s policy objectives.

Working conditions

This section will support the improvement of the working environment and conditions, including health and safety at work, by:

  • improving the understanding of the situation in relation to working conditions, in particular through analyses and studies and the development of statistics and indicators, as well as assessing the impact of existing legislation, policies and practices;
  • supporting the implementation of EU labour law through reinforced monitoring, training of practitioners, development of guides and networking amongst specialised bodies;
  • initiating preventive actions and fostering the prevention culture in the field of health and safety at work;
  • raising awareness, disseminating information and promoting the debate about the main challenges and policy issues relating to working conditions.

Diversity and combating discrimination

This section will support the effective implementation of the principle of non-discrimination and promote its mainstreaming in EU policies by:

  • improving understanding of the discrimination situation, in particular through analyses and studies and the development of statistics and indicators, as well as assessing the impact of existing legislation, policies and practices;
  • supporting the implementation of EU anti-discrimination legislation through reinforced monitoring, training of practitioners and networking amongst specialised bodies dealing with combating discrimination;
  • raising awareness, disseminating information and promoting the debate about the main challenges and policy issues in relation to discrimination and the mainstreaming of anti-discrimination in EU policies;
  • developing the ability of the main EU networks (e.g. of national experts or NGOs) to pursue the Union’s policy objectives.

Gender equality

This section will support the effective implementation of the principle of gender equality and promote gender mainstreaming in EU policies by:

  • improving the understanding of the situation in relation to gender equality issues and gender mainstreaming, in particular through analyses and studies and the development of statistics and indicators, as well as assessing the impact of existing legislation, policies and practices;
  • supporting the implementation of EU gender equality legislation through reinforced monitoring, training of practitioners and networking amongst specialised equality bodies;
  • raising awareness, disseminating information and promoting debate about the main challenges and policy issues in relation to gender equality and gender mainstreaming;
  • developing the ability of the main EU networks (e.g. of national experts or NGOs) to pursue the Union’s policy objectives.

ACCESS TO THE PROGRAMME AND PARTICIPATION BY THIRD COUNTRIES

Access to this programme is open to all public and/or private bodies, players and institutions, in particular:

  • Member States;
  • public employment services;
  • local and regional authorities;
  • specialised bodies provided for under EU legislation;
  • the social partners;
  • non-governmental organisations organised at EU level;
  • universities and research institutes;
  • experts in evaluation;
  • the national statistical institutes;
  • the media.

The programme is also open to the EFTA/EEA countries, associated candidate countries and countries of the western Balkans participating in the stabilisation and association process.

TYPES OF ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE

Actions may be funded by:

  • a service contract following a call for tenders;
  • a partial subsidy following a call for proposals. In this case, the EU co-financing may not, as a general rule, exceed 80 % of the total expenditure incurred by the recipient.

FINANCING

The budget proposed is EUR 683 250 000 million for the period 2007-2013. The breakdown of funding between the different sections will comply with the following lower limits:

  • Employment 23 %
  • Social protection and inclusion 30 %
  • Working conditions 10 %
  • Diversity and combating discrimination 23 %
  • Gender equality 12 %.

The remaining 2 % will be used to cover programme management expenses.

A budget of EUR 60 million has been allocated to the new microfinance facility Progress for employment and social inclusion for the period 2007-2013.

SIMPLIFICATION

The proposed approach will contribute to the key objective of simplifying instruments, in both legal and management terms, and streamlining the budget structure.

In the implementation of the programme, the Commission will be assisted by a single Programme Committee, instead of four as previously.

MONITORING AND EVALUATION

The Commission will draw up annual activity reports and send them to the Programme Committee. The programme will also be subject to a mid-term evaluation. An ex-post evaluation covering the whole programme will be carried out, one year after it ends, by the Commission with the assistance of external experts, in order to measure the impact of the programme objectives and its EU added value.

BACKGROUND

In its 2004 communication on the new financial framework for 2007-2013, the Commission identified the implementation of the social policy agenda as an important tool contributing to the goal of competitiveness for growth and employment.

In order to achieve the Lisbon objectives, the social policy agenda is based on a combination of instruments, in particular legislation, the Open Method of Coordination, European social dialogue, and the European Social Fund and other financial instruments managed directly by the Commission.

PROGRESS responds to the Commission’s desire to simplify and rationalise the financial instruments in the area of employment and social policy.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into force and expiry dateDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Decision 1672/2006/EC

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2013

-

OJ L315 of 15.11.2006

Amending Act(s)Entry into force dateDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Decision 284/2010/EU

8.4.2010

-

OJ L 87 of 7.4.2010

RELATED ACTS

Decision 283/2010/UE of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 March 2010 establishing a European Progress Microfinance Facility for employment and social inclusion [Official Journal L 87 of 7.4.2010].
The new Progress microfinance facility shall finance:

  • the creation of businesses or self-employment by persons excluded from the labour market and persons who do not have access to the conventional credit market;
  • micro-enterprises who employ persons who are socially excluded.

This instrument is aimed at public and private bodies who offer microfinance to individuals or micro-enterprises.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 3 June 2009 – “A Shared Commitment for Employment” [COM(2009) 257 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 27.04.2010
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