On Monday 3 December the Employment Committee of the European Parliament proposed strengthening the ESF+ funding in the EU 2021-27 long-term budget by approximately 19% compared to the European Commission’s proposal (from approximately € 89,6 billion to approximately € 106,8 billion in 2018 prices), of which € 105,7 billion is to be managed jointly by the EU and Member States.
MEPs also voted to increase the budget for combatting extreme poverty under shared management. At least 3% should be spent on social inclusion of the most deprived persons and/or addressing material deprivation through food and basic material assistance. This increase would positively affect the situation of the most vulnerable groups and tackle severe material deprivation which currently affects 7.5% of EU-28 population (Eurostat, 2018). These measures will be used also to support specific disadvantaged categories as children.
Verónica Lope Fontagné (EPP, ES), the lead MEP, said: “The EU can and must do more for our citizens, all of them count and we need a targeted approach for those who are in need. We have to achieve higher levels of employment, modernize education, lifelong learning and health systems. The ESF + will be the best tool to reach these objectives.
With this vote, the European Parliament sends a clear and strong message not only to the European citizens but also to the rest of the European institutions about the social and employment policies that the European Union has to focus on. […] We cannot allow a 26,4% children at risk of poverty or social exclusion. We have to work to ensure equal opportunities for all, access to education and break the vicious circle of poverty.
We are ready. In January, we will have a plenary mandate to commence inter-institutional negotiations and I hope the European Council will be ready to start negotiations as soon as possible, so that we can deliver a Regulation that contributes to improving welfare and social cohesion during this term.
The EU can only be competitive if it maintains high levels of employment, education, health and social inclusion, without leaving anyone behind.”
The text was adopted with 38 votes to 3. Employment Committee MEPs now urge the Council to adopt a general approach and start negotiations as soon as possible.