CoR members adopted today the draft opinion on the "Mid-term review of the ESF preparing the post-2020 proposal" by PES Group President Catiuscia Marini, President of the Umbria region (PES/Italy).
President Marini stressed that "The European Social Fund is the most effective tool in the hands of the local and regional authorities in order to provide a concrete answer to social challenges. We therefore strongly oppose any plan to create a new fund which would be centralised under the Member States' sole responsibility. Major future challenges can only be addressed effectively by taking into account specific local needs. The ESF must therefore remain one of the European Structural and Investment Funds and a key element of the Cohesion Policy".
Her demand received political backing by Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, and by MEP Agnes Jongerius, S&D coordinator within the European Parliament's employment and social affairs committee, who had joined PES Group members at their meeting ahead of the plenary session.
Commissioner Creţu stressed that "Europe needs a cohesion policy for all regions; not only to fight poverty, including in richer regions, but to keep Europe visible and tangible everywhere". She called for swift negotiations on the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), warning that "100.000 regional & local projects will be in danger if the adoption of the future MFF is delayed".
Agnes Jongerius added that "the European Social Fund is vital to make the Pillar of Social Rights concrete, as it can assist projects aimed at social inclusion through jobs and poverty reduction. We demand that the future ESF dedicates at least 30% of its budget to fight poverty, include a child guarantee and increase the Youth Employment Initiative funding ".