European Social Fund (ESF)
The European Social Fund (ESF) is the most important tool of the European Union (EU) to support labour market and employment policy in Europe. The ESF aims at improving employment opportunities through training and qualification and reducing disadvantages on the labour market.
To this end, the EU and its Member States allocate considerable financial resources to set up sustainable funding programmes and implement local projects. Up to 80 billion euros will be invested throughout Europe in the 2014-2020 ESF funding period.
The federal operational programme for the ESF manages the financial resources of the Federal Government. Public administration institutions and organizations, non-governmental organizations, charities, trade unions and employers are eligible for ESF funding.
The Federal Office of Administration implements various ESF funding programmes on behalf of three federal ministries: the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment and Building (BMUB). Three organizational units at the BVA are responsible for the European Social Fund: the ESF managing authority (administrative implementation), the ESF certification authority (financial monitoring and control of expenditure) and the ESF audit body (auditing tasks).