S&Ds: more needs to be done to make the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Education and Culture programmes a concrete reality

puzzle of words Erasmus+ and related topics

The new legislative proposals for the European Social Policy 2021-2027 presented by the European Commission focus on making the European Pillar of Social Rights a reality and composes of the European Social Fund Plus with the budget of €101.2 billion, and the European Globalisation Fund of €1.6 billion.  However, the S&D Group is concerned that while the new ESF+ fund merges a number of funds fighting youth unemployment, inequalities, social exclusion, poverty and investing in mobility and skills of European citizens, this makes the rules less clear and the budget 6% less.

Agnes Jongerius, S&D coordinator for the committee on employment and social affairs, said:

"We welcome the Commission's efforts to deliver on the European Pillar of Social rights, however we are disappointed with the level of their financial commitment. The Commission scraps the 23% minimum share of the ESF in the Cohesion Policy, while we have been fighting for its increase. We have also been calling for a 30% increase of the ESF´s programmes dedicated to the fight against inequalities and poverty instead of the proposed 25%. The European Parliament has also fought for doubling the budget for the Youth Employment Initiative, which will be 10% of the ESF+.

“We need more clarification on how this new super fund will be working in order to meet the needs of all European citizens. We are not sure how the mixing of instruments under shared and direct and indirect management will work and if merging the existing well-known and well-functioning funds and programmes will not be made weaker - thus not reaching their beneficiaries and the most vulnerable citizens.

“We will be working hard to make sure we have the right and ambitious resources to fight the current and pressing challenges we face in Europe such as unemployment, low wages, gender pay gap and that we support the well-being of all our citizens.”

Silvia Costa, S&D coordinator in the culture committee, comments on the Erasmus+, Creative Europe and the new proposal Rights and Values:

“Erasmus+, Creative Europe and the new programme Rights and Values represent a concrete investment in our future, in the future of our youth, in the innovation and social inclusion in the EU. Therefore, the S&Ds demanded to triple the Erasmus+ funds and significantly increase the resources for the other two programmes.

“By doubling the Erasmus+ funds and increasing by 9% the Creative Europe ones, the proposal of the European Commission goes in the right direction. This though is not enough yet. The S&Ds goal now is to further increase the resources for these crucial programmes and make them more accessible.

“In particular for Erasmus+, we will commit ourselves to have the Erasmus Mundus back in the programme, making it more accessible to all young people thanks to the introduction of the European Student e-Card. In this regard, we welcome that the Commission has included some of our requests in its proposal, such as a greater support to the professional and University education, trainings and youth entrepreneurship.

“Finally, we cannot be satisfied with the poor funds increase for the Creative Europe programme, but we do consider the dedicated action in favour of the mobility of artists and the promotion of the literature and the music a positive step forward.”