European Social Fund

Application statusBudgetFund durationGrant sizeHow to accessThemeType of support
Closed€99.3 billion2021-2027N/ACalls for Tenders/proposalsSocial inclusionGrants


The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is Europe’s main instrument for investing in people. The ESF+ will continue to provide an important contribution to the EU’s employment, social, education and skills policies, including structural reforms in these areas. The Fund will also be one of the cornerstones of EU socio-economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has reversed gains in labour participation, challenged educational and health systems and increased inequalities. ESF+ will be one of the key EU instrument helping Member States to address these challenges.

 Priority will be given to:

  • Supporting young people to find a qualification, a good quality job, and improve their education and training
  • Helping children in need
  • Reskilling and upskilling people for the transition to a green and digital economy
  • Capacity building for social partners and civil society organisations
  • Transnational cooperation for promoting social innovation across the EU
  • Direct support to social innovation through the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) strand

The ESF+ brings together four funding instruments that were separate in the programming period 2014-2020: The European Social Fund (ESF), the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived (FEAD) the Youth Employment Initiative and the European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

Who can apply?

For the investments implemented by Member States in partnership with the European Commission, consult the ESF+ website of your country. To apply for EaSI grants, individuals and organisations have to be either from the EU, or from non EU countries which have an agreement for participation in EaSI. International organisations and legal entities created under Union law can also apply.

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