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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 21 October 2014

European Social Fund: more than €2.6 billion to boost employment and social inclusion in Germany

The European Commission has today adopted the German federal Operational Programme for the implementation of the European Social Fund (ESF) in the period 2014-2020. This programme outlines the priorities and objectives to spend over €4.8 billion (of which over €2.6 billion from the ESF), contributing to creating jobs and strengthening social cohesion across Germany. This national programme will be supplemented by 16 regional programmes that will address specific challenges in the Länder.

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: "I am happy to see that Germany is placing particular emphasis on facilitating the transition from school to work for disadvantaged young people, helping the long-term unemployed get back to work and supporting social inclusion. The actions in this programme will make a major contribution to the implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Germany."

The main objectives of the German ESF Operational Programme at federal level are the promotion of employment, social inclusion and education. The programme will contribute to the following priorities:

  • 38% of total funding will be dedicated to promoting social inclusion and combatting poverty with a focus on the sustainable labour market integration of the long-term unemployed, the sustainable placement of migrants into employment or vocational and educational training, and improved access of disadvantaged young people to employment, training and education (including through implementation of the Youth Guarantee). Approximately 73,000 long-term unemployed, 150,000 migrants and 100,000 disadvantaged young people are due to be supported through these measures.

  • 33% of the funds will be invested in education, skills and lifelong learning. Expected results include the improvement of skills and qualification levels and widening access to education systems, supporting the transition from school into employment, including through implementation of the Youth Guarantee, and strengthening the capacities of SMEs in the field of vocational education. Approximately 100,000 young people and 71,000 employed people are due to be supported through these measures.

  • 25% of the available funds will promote sustainable and quality employment and support labour mobility. The main target groups are small and medium sized companies (SMEs), employed people including the self-employed, women and migrants. Expected results include improving the capacity of SMEs to adapt to demographic change, to overcome a crisis or to remain in business, better reconciliation of private and professional life and the recognition of professional qualifications obtained abroad. Approximately 260,000 SMEs, 20,000 (inactive) women and 18,000 migrants shall be supported in this context.


On 22 May the European Commission adopted a "partnership agreement" with Germany setting out the strategy for optimum use of European Structural and Investment Funds in the country's regions and cities for 2014-2020 and the synergies between this federal-level programme and the 16 regional programmes (IP/14/594).

The European Social Fund (ESF), worth over €80 billion in the 2014-20 period, plays a fundamental role in supporting Member States' investment in human capital and thereby in strengthening the competitiveness of the European economy as it emerges from the crisis. Every year the ESF assists more than 15 million people by helping them to upgrade their skills, facilitating their integration into the labour market, combating social exclusion and poverty and increasing the effectiveness of public administrations.

In 2014-2020, for the first time in the history of EU Cohesion Policy, a minimum budget representing at least 23.1 % (at EU level) of Cohesion Policy funding has been allocated to the ESF — see MEMO/14/84.

For more information

German Federal ESF Operational Programme

European Social Fund website

László Andor's website

Follow László Andor on Twitter

Subscribe to the European Commission's free e-mail newsletter on employment, social affairs and inclusion

Contacts :

Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)

Cécile Dubois (+32 2 295 18 83)

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