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Procedure : 2010/2852(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0535/2010

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Debates :

PV 07/10/2010 - 5
CRE 07/10/2010 - 5

Votes :

PV 07/10/2010 - 11.5
CRE 07/10/2010 - 11.5
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Texts adopted
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Thursday, 7 October 2010 - Brussels
Future of the European Social Fund

European Parliament resolution of 7 October 2010 on the future of the European Social Fund

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Europe 2020 – A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 25 and 26 March 2010,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 17 June 2010 (EUCO13/10), and in particular its adoption of the Europe 2020 strategy,

–  having regard to the 2010 OECD report concerning the role of education during this time of crisis,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the Strategic Report of 2010 by the Commission on the Implementation of the Cohesion Policy Programmes adopted at the 3023rd Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg, 14 June 2010,

–  having regard to Article 6(e) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFUE),

–  having regard to Article 156 TFEU,

–  having regard to Article 162 TFEU,

–  having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

1.  Notes the key role played by the European Social Fund (ESF) in improving employment and job opportunities, promoting the adaptation of workers' skills to the demands of the labour market, and workers' integration into the labour market, and reinforcing social inclusion;

2.  Draws attention to the four Employment Guidelines adopted by the European Parliament and welcomes the fact that the objectives include promoting employment and combating poverty in the context of integration/reintegration into working life through training;

3.  Emphasises that substantive progress towards achieving the Europe 2020 targets and objectives, in particular in the field of employment and social affairs, is essential if the strategy is to be credible;

4.  Believes that the Europe 2020 targets and objectives can be achieved by use of this instrument with a view to supporting SMEs and adjusting education systems and vocational education and training (VET) to the needs of SMEs;

5.  Believes that a stronger focus on properly functioning labour markets and on social conditions is vital in order to boost growth and productivity and improve employment performance in Europe;

6.  Believes also that, in order to achieve the Europe 2020 targets, considerable emphasis needs to be put on updatin education systems and VET, on decent work, including the fight against precarious and undeclared work, on gender equality and the creation of conditions for reconciling work and private life, and on ensuring that people currently excluded from the labour market can gain access to it;

7.  Considers that the ESF must be strengthened as the main engine underpinning the Europe 2020 strategy; stresses the importance of Member States' using the ESF to invest in skills, employment, training and retraining activities with a view to creating more and better jobs;

8.  Considers that the efficacy of the ESF depends on its ability to adapt to the various problems emerging from local and territorial specificities; therefore encourages a bottom-up approach in the identification of its aims;

9.  Considers that sustainable economic growth and job creation policies in Europe are preconditions for achieving social and territorial cohesion;

10.  Draws attention to the fact that, while territorial cohesion is important, there is an even greater need to maintain efforts to achieve social cohesion in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Treaties, in particular Article 9 TFEU;

11.  Stresses that EU regional policy and EU social policy are interrelated and that both are vital to the success of the Europe 2020 strategy, and calls on the Commission to provide a clear framework for establishing strong synergies between all European policies and the structural funds;

12.  Stresses that economic, social and territorial cohesion should be strengthened by improving employability and job opportunities, encouraging a high level of employment and ensuring more and better jobs;

13.  Emphasises, therefore, the importance of undertaking all possible efforts to ensure that EU policies and instruments work together in a coordinated and mutually supportive manner so as to help people in Europe find quality jobs, progress in their careers, get out of poverty by means of working life inclusion through training, avoid all forms of social exclusion and, in general, gain from the benefits of future growth;

14.  Recognises that the structural funds largely remain the main funding instrument for the pursuit of social objectives, and asks the Commission to promote synergies with other programmes and to support coherence across the multiannual framework programmes, such as Daphne, Progress, the Public Health Programme, and the ‘Europe for citizens’ programme;

15.  Calls on the Commission to strengthen the structural funds' potential through simplification especially of controls, flexibility and improvement of procedures and follow-up, emphasising the social integration dimension, with the aims of helping Member States to optimise the output of social and employment policies and creating sustainable growth; stresses that the ESF needs to be made more transparent as regards the allocation of funds, in order to give real visibility to European Union efforts in favour of employment;

16.  Underlines the importance of the ESF as a key tool in combating unemployment and in improving education and life-long vocational training for employees – especially in the current employment crisis – as well as combating poverty and exclusion;

17.  Is of the opinion that the role of the ESF in improving workers' employability and adaptability must be strengthened; calls on the Commission to consider all possible policy options for boosting the contribution of the ESF in the context of the future architecture of the structural funds, in order to enhance the social model of the European Union; believes that there are considerable advantages in maintaining the ESF under the basic regulation on general provisions on the funds, but with its own rules;

18.  Considers that, as a result of the free movement of persons in the internal market, new problems are emerging in some parts of the EU, particularly in larger cities, in connection with the provision of emergency social protection for people unable to support themselves, and that this is putting pressure on private (charitable) and public services which provide emergency assistance, for example for the homeless or for marginalised groups in society;

19.  Emphasises that the partnership principle contributes to transparency and simplification and that partners therefore need to be empowered to fulfil their role properly; stresses the need to further strengthen the partnership approach by providing ESF support for capacity-building and training of partners;

20.  Considers that the ESF has a key role in promoting the social dimension of economic growth and the active participation of citizens in society and the labour market, thus furthering equal opportunities for all as a vector for social and intergenerational solidarity and the creation of a more inclusive society, with the aim of reducing poverty;

21.  Considers that the outcomes of the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion could help the Commission to target ESF support more effectively in combating poverty and social exclusion in the EU by supporting better education for future jobs;

22.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

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