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ESF in the EU

The Lisbon Strategy

At the Council’s meeting in Lisbon in March 2000, the Heads of State and Governments launched the so-called Lisbon Strategy. The overall objective of the Lisbon Strategy is that the EU by the year 2010 would become "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion". A revision of the Lisbon Strategy was carried out in 2005.

The strategy must be sustainable from an economic, ecological and social point of view. The Lisbon Strategy’s programme is extensive in many areas such as increasing employment and productivity, holding down inflation, improving the conditions for an internal market, ensuring access to the Internet, reducing social inequality.

The Employment Strategy

The EU promotes a high level of employment within the Union. Member countries co-ordinate employment policies through broad objectives and guidelines – the European Employment Strategy.
In terms of employment, the objectives for the year 2010, include among other things:
– 70% of the workforce will be employed
– 60% of the female workforce will be employed
– 50% of the workforce aged 55-64 will be employed.Each year, the Member States convert these guidelines into practice through national employment action plans. The action plans are reviewed by the Commission and the Council, and the results are reported in a joint report on employment. The conclusions from the joint employment reports may lead to the guidelines and country-specific recommendations for employment policies having to be redrafted.

Sweden’s national action programme

The EU’s policy of cohesion

The EU has a common regional policy, or cohesion policy as it is also referred to. The objectives of this policy are economic, social and territorial cohesion. It will also strengthen the EU’s competitiveness in relation to the rest of the world.
In November 2011, the EU Commission presented its fifth report on cohesion. What were the results of the cohesion policy and how would things develop in the future? At the same time an open consultation starts regarding the cohesion policy after 2013.

The schedule for the next programme period is that a legislated proposal will be prepared by the summer of 2011; it is hoped that this can be adopted in 2012. Negotiations with the EU Commission by the Member States takes place in 2013 and is expected to be ready by the next programme period 2014.

For more information about the report: www.ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/cohesion_report

The structural funds

The Structural Funds make up around one third of the EU budget and form an important instrument in implementing the Lisbon Strategy and the European Employment Strategy, especially with a view to reducing disparities in development levels between regions and Member States.
There are two structural funds:

  • The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is currently the largest structural fund. Since 1975 it has provided support to develop infrastructure and productive job-creating investments, mainly to businesses.
    Read more at Tillväxtverket (in Swedish) - The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth
  • The European Social Fund (ESF), was established in 1958 and aimed at promoting labour market integration of unemployed and disadvantaged populations, primarily through support for training activities.  

    National structural fund programme for regional competitiveness and employment (.pdf) 482 kB
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