The report was developed by the EAPN Task Force: Monitoring the 20% ESF on poverty and was coordinated by EAPN Portugal, with support from the EAPN secretariat. It was written for EAPN by Fátima Veiga, and Paula Carvalho Cruz of EAPN Portugal, with input from the EAPN Task Force members.
In order to collect all the information from different countries and different experiences on the use of ESF, a Task Force of EAPN developed a single questionnaire to collect quantitative and more detailed qualitative information on the content and the process, including good practices or even new projects funded under the new cycle. EAPN Networks were asked to complete the questionnaire and return it to the lead Network EAPN Portugal. The report was written for EAPN by Fátima Veiga, and Paula Carvalho Cruz of EAPN Portugal, with input from the EAPN Task Force members.
A STEP FORWARD ON TACKLING POVERTY AND PROMOTING PARTICIPATION?
The new programming period of ESF (2014-2020) appears to mark a major step forward in relation to the spending of EU funds for poverty and participation. Structural Funds for the programming period 2014-2020 will amount to 352 € billion. ESF under the new regulations get at least 23.1% of national Structural Funds allocation, with spending closer to 25% and gives a higher profile to social inclusion and poverty reduction with at least 20% of ESF earmarked. A strengthened partnership approach has also been supported including the involvement of NGOs through the first European Code of Conduct on partnership. For the first time the ESF national budgets are secured, with the mandatory minimum of 23.1% of the total SF national allocation. The Fund for the most deprived (FEAD) also extended its scope of intervention for broader social inclusion activities, however it is not meant to overlap with ESF. (Please see more detailed information and links on the new fund in the EAPN Tool Kit which includes contact details of managing authorities and a glossary of key terms.)
With a stronger focus on social inclusion and poverty reduction, and a better promotion of bottom-up and community-led approaches, the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Regulations 2014-2020 also provide a more favourable legal framework for more funding opportunities for social NGO`s and to support positive anti-poverty policy and practice. The Ex-ante conditionalities in the Regulations provide very specific requirements around funding priorities and delivery through the Operational Programmes, ie on poverty reduction, based on integrated anti-poverty strategy. The Guidance Note on Ex ante Conditionalities for the European Structural and Investment Funds PART II (February 2014) produced by the European Commission provides a valuable point of reference when reviewing the delivery on poverty of the funds on the content and the process. ”This guidance is addressed to geographical units for ESI Funds. Its purpose is to provide a framework for the assessment by the Commission of the consistency and adequacy of the information provided by Member States on the applicability and fulfillment of ex ante conditionalities. It is also made available to Member States”.
In terms of the current EU context, this report comes also at an important moment, following the adoption of the Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes in 2014-5, and the Commission’s initial Report adopted in December 2015 – which endorses particularly the ex-ante conditionalities and partnership principle. It is hoped the recommendations from the report will feed into the Mid-Term Review of Structural Funds that will take place later in 2016 led by Directorate General Regional Policy (DG REGIO).
EAPN actively contributed to the achievement of the earmarking and partnership principle, through its EU Money for Poverty campaign coordinated with 19 European NGOs. This report therefore comes at a timely moment for NGOs to assess progress made on the promises on poverty and participation.
 Art. 4.2. ESF Regulation
 Art. 5 CPR.
 MS can choose between two types of Operational Programmes: OP1 for food aid or material assistance, and OP 2 is broader pathways to social inclusion.
STRUCTURE OF THE REPORT
The report includes a
- summary of main findings;
- the analysis of main findings and
- full recommendations at European, National and local levels
This report has also been published by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy InfoRegio, in relation to the 4th meeting of the Structured Dialogue with ESI Funds’ Partners group of experts. Click here to know more about the structured dialogue.
For more information on the report, contact Sian Jones, Policy Coordinator of EAPN firstname.lastname@example.org.