Despite the strong call from the Members of the NGO campaign EU Money for Poverty Reduction! to back the Employment Committees proposed amendment to keep the minimum budget for European Social Fund to at least 25% of the Cohesion Policy’s budget, the REGI Committee Members voted to decrease it to 23,1%.
The proposal of a minimum share of 25% of the Cohesion budget for the ESF was part of the Commission’s proposal and was warmly welcomes by social actors as a way for the EU to demonstrate that human resource investment is a serious commitment. The 23,1% agreed by MEPs represent a considerable loss of 7 € billion to help the EU Member States to deliver on the social targets of Europe 2020 and especially the poverty reduction target.
The Members of the NGO campaign welcomed the clause making sure that future ESF resources will not be less crucial that their current level in the programming period 2007-2013.
“With the dramatic rise in unemployment and poverty rates in the EU the vote in the Parliament undermines the commitment in the Council conclusions of June 2012 to use Structural Funds to mitigate the social consequences of the crisis and tackle youth unemployment. The members of the NGO campaign will now try to ensure the vote in the plenary session of the Parliament and the negotiations between the Parliament, Council and Commission restores the higher amount proposed for the European Social Fund” said Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN.