The European Social Fund (ESF) is one of the EU's Structural Funds, set up to reduce differences in prosperity and living standards across EU Member States and regions, and therefore promoting economic and social cohesion.
The ESF is devoted to promoting employment in the EU. It helps Member States make Europe's workforce and companies better equipped to face new, global challenges. In short:
- Funding is spread across the Member States and regions, in particular those where economic development is less advanced.
- It is a key element of the EU's 2020 strategy for Growth and Jobs targeted at improving the lives of EU citizens by giving them better skills and better job prospects.
- Over the period 2007-2013 some €75 billion will be distributed to the EU Member States and regions to achieve its goals.